As a fan of a team that has achieved prolonged success, it can be sad when you realize that a player who brought that success is no longer capable of doing so. For this reason, it is bittersweet for many a San Francisco Giants fan as they realize that Ramon Ramirez, who was so instrumental in the success of the 2010 World Champions, is no longer capable of being an effective major league pitcher.
Ramirez really seemed to be on his last legs on Wednesday night. The 31-year-old gave up long home runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ Alex Presley and Neil Walker over a full inning of work. If it wasn’t for Ramirez’s disastrous effort, it is possible that the Giants offense could have recovered from the damage that Barry Zito did in his 4.2 innings.
This performance raised Ramirez’s ERA to 11.12, and it does not appear that he is going to improve any time soon. It is almost sad to watch the pitcher that he has become. He looks much more frail now than in his first stint with the Giants, and his velocity is not nearly what it once was. Worst of all, it seems that he has no more confidence, and simply cannot be trusted.
The team probably should have noticed this downward trend in spring training and avoided keeping him in the organization. Ramirez, who was in camp on a minor league deal, gave up runs in seven of his eight spring appearances. The organization largely dismissed these poor results as being due to Ramirez’s continued recovery from a hamstring injury that he sustained last year with the New York Mets.
Though the Giants released him near the end of the spring, he was soon brought back on a more team-friendly minor league deal, and was brought up in late May as the pitching staff was going through a chaotic week.
The bottom line is that something happened with Ramirez between the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 which caused him to struggle. Perhaps he could not deal with the pressure from the fans and media that comes with playing in New York. All it takes is a look at Ramirez’s month-by-month results to see that the hamstring injury did not cause his struggles; he did not sustain the injury until the first week of June, yet he gave up eight earned runs in April and six in May while throwing 13 innings in each month.
He actually pitched better after the injury, yet he still finished the year with a 4.24 ERA.
Though Ramirez will forever have a place in Giants fans’ hearts as part of San Francisco’s first-ever championship team, it is time to let him go. It is already proven that he can not be trusted, and it is more practical for the organization to see what younger talents such as Heath Hembree and Jake Dunning can do. It will be a painful task for manager Bruce Bochy, but it is ultimately for the best.