Desperate for innings, the White Sox acquired lefthander Horacio Ramirez from the Royals in exchange for Brazilian-born high Class A center fielder Paulo Orlando.
The Big Leaguer
The control problems that have plagued Ramirez throughout his career all but disappeared upon his conversion to the bullpen this season. The 28-year-old lefthander went 1-1, 2.59 with 11 strikeouts and one walk 24 1/3 relief innings for the Royals. For his career, his walks-per-nine-innings rate as a starter (3.5) is nearly three times higher (1.2) than the corresponding rate as a reliever. The Braves used a fifth-round pick in 1997 to take Ramirez out of Inglewood (Calif.) High, and then traded him to the Mariners for power-armed Rafael Soriano in December 2006. Kansas City signed him in May after the Mariners cut him in spring training. For his career, Ramirez has gone 39-30, 4.53 with 299 strikeouts and 243 walks in 644 innings.
Orlando, 22, batted .262/.308/.408 with 15 doubles, 12 home runs and 28 stolen bases in 37 attempts for Winston-Salem. A former sprinter on the Brazilian national team, his chief asset is speed, which he puts to good use on the basepaths and in center field. He signed with the White Sox out of a tryout camp in Brazil in 2005. A righthanded batter, Orlando still chases pitches out of the zone, though his contact rate has improved dramatically since his debut season, 2006, when he fanned 143 times in 470 at-bats.
Chicago’s pitching staff suffered two big blows recently when Jose Contreras suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon, ending his season, and lefty reliever Boone Logan’s ERA ballooned to 15.95 in the second half. Making matters worse, rookie lefthander Clayton Richard went 0-2, 10.38 in three starts while filling in for Contreras on his previous DL stint. A veteran lefty, Ramirez is capable of filling either Contreras’ rotation spot—if righthander D.J. Carrasco doesn’t—or the bullpen spot previously held by Logan.