The Rays have made no secret of their attempt to bolster their bullpen, trading for righthander Sergio Romo and lefthander Dan Jennings in the past week and then on Friday acquiring righthander Steve Cishek from the Mariners for righthander Erasmo Ramirez.
Cishek has closing experience in Miami and Seattle but is likely to be used in Tampa Bay as a right-on-right reliever, with his sidearm action tough on righthanded hitters. Ramirez returns to Seattle, which originally signed him out of Nicaragua in 2007.
Erasmo Ramirez, rhp
Ramirez, acquired from Seattle in March 2015 for lefthander Mike Montgomery, was used in a swingman role by the Rays because of his durability. An effective starter in 2015, Ramirez has an aggressive approach, using a fastball that averages about 93 mph from a slight crossfire delivery. He’s mostly a sinker-changeup-slider pitcher, showing a change with good fade. He has good command, but has been hurt by home runs in the past two years. After allowing just 16 in 163 innings in 2015, he has given up 10 in just 69.1 innings in 2017. But he’s less expensive than Cishek, the Mariners have familiarity with him and he is under team control for two more years.
Steve Cishek, rhp
It’s clear the Rays were seeking more experienced arms for their bullpen in their surprising run to contention this season. Tommy Hunter, Brad Boxberger and closer Alex Colome have been inconsistent and the team is relying on inexperienced Andrew Kitteredge, who gave up a game-winning homer Thursday, and Adam Kolarek.
Cishek has been as a closer on two clubs previously and although he might not be used in that role with Tampa Bay, can be expected to have a high-leverage role, especially against righthanded hitters. This season, righthanders are just 10-for-51 against him with one home run.