So there’s a story about how the San Francisco Giants traded a pair of players for Angel Pagan in the winter of 2011, only to end up with all three back on the team just a year later.
Ramon Ramirez is the last those players that were involved in the trade with the New York Mets to come back to the Bay Area, but even on a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite that doesn’t guarantee him anything, there’s every reason for the 31-year old righty to want to do so.
After all, Ramirez was never better in his career than he was with the Giants. The seven-year veteran has had excellent seasons before with other teams, but none quite like one-and a half years he spent in San Francisco that saw him put up a career-best 2.07/1.09 ERA/WHIP over 95.2 innings with the Giants during those two seasons.
On top of bringing out the best in Ramirez, the Giants got him a World Series ring too.
So you could understand why he would have some reasons for returning. It just wasn’t the same for him in New York, even though Ramirez arguably had a better chance to gain an expanded opportunity there, with the ninth inning situation around Frank Francisco being in flux for much of the season.
Still, the numbers never materialized. At least, not the kind that Ramirez put up in the west coast. Outside of the 2007 season in which he only pitched 17.1 innings, Ramirez put up career-lows in just about every category with the Mets in 2012, with a poor 4.24/1.46 ERA/WHIP coupled with some uncharacteristic wildness (4.95 BB/9) that simply wasn’t close to what the righty had shown that he was capable of.
So how will he go about fixing it? Simple – go back to the place where your stuff worked best.
Which brings us back to the minor league deal with the Giants. As far as late inning opportunity goes, Ramirez isn’t likely to be the front-runner for one of those jobs – not with arms like Jeremy Affeldt and former closer Santiago Casilla in his way, anyway. In fact, he’ll probably have his work cut out for him just to make the major league roster as one of the final members of the bullpen, as there will be a number of others, like former closer-in-waiting Dan Runzler and top prospect Heath Hembree (who might be the actual closer-in-waiting) looking to make a splash int the bigs in 2013.
That said, history counts for a lot in this game, and the fact is that the Giants and Ramirez have a very successful history together. He’ll look to get back some of whatever it is that made him the best version of himself between 2010 and 2011; if the 31-year old can do that, who knows – maybe there’ll be a chance to add to his ring collection yet.