Chicago Cubs Rumors: Team interested in Miami Marlins closer AJ Ramos
By Jake Misener
With one week till the trade deadline, the Chicago Cubs are among the parties interested in Miami Marlins closer AJ Ramos.
Looking to shore up the relief corps, the Chicago Cubs reportedly have their eye on Marlins’ closer AJ Ramos. But, that being said, they are far from the only club with interest in the right-hander stopper in South Beach.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Cubs join the likes of the Rockies and Nationals with ‘strong interest’ in Ramos. Although Chicago is set in the ninth with Wade Davis, adding another strong back-end arm could help push the team over the edge down the stretch.
Ramos has 19 saves on the year with Miami and made his first All-Star team last year. In 2016, he notched a career-high 40 saves, making 67 appearances for the Marlins. In six big-league campaigns, he boasts an impressive 2.80 ERA across 325 innings’ pitched.
Unlike a rumored pursuit of Orioles’ closer Zach Britton, which could create some ninth-inning headaches given the anchor of Wade Davis taking up the closer spot, Ramos is more appealing. Given his relative lack of experience, he would likely take a setup role more in-stride, giving the Cubs an elite one-two punch at the end of ballgames.
Throw in Carl Edwards Jr., Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop and you have to feel good about what the rotation would be handing the ball over to in the dog days of summer.
At what cost?
Ramos is under team control through the 2018 season. Eligible for arbitration at season’s end, he’s at a very affordable $6.55 million this year.
Ramos is far from a blue-chip closer. He’s in the midst of one of his worst seasons to-date, pitching to a 3.86 ERA. The long-ball has plagued the right-hander in 2017. One year after allowing just 0.1 HR/9, Ramos is averaging an even homer per nine this year.
In terms of comparison, Baseball Reference drops some well-known names. Cody Allen, Jeurys Familia and Trevor Rosenthal all draw similar comps. Another name on the list? The Cubs’ Hector Rondon.
Call it what you will, but the Cubs feature an impressive arm in Rondon – although most fans won’t admit such a fact. But that’s a discussion for a different time. Back to Ramos.
The Marlins right-hander likely won’t fetch an eye-popping price. The Cubs probably don’t have to lose a major big-league roster piece to make it happen. With one year of control left, it might take some big name prospects from the system to get it done.
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Chicago can use another quality arm in the back end of the pen. Adding Ramos shores up things down the stretch and gives Joe Maddon flexibility moving forward. It might not be Ramos who comes to Chicago, but a bullpen piece seems to be a sure thing moving forward.