Mets strike deal with Ramirez to reinforce 'pen

Mets strike deal with Ramirez to reinforce 'pen

PHOENIX -- Their bullpen reeling, the Mets brought aboard a fresh arm on Tuesday by signing right-hander Neil Ramirez to a one-year contract. The team also placed shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera on the 10-day disabled list with a left thumb sprain, clearing roster space for Ramirez.

Ramirez, 27, began this season with the Giants, posting an 8.71 ERA in nine games before San Francisco designated him for assignment. He subsequently joined the Blue Jays, who designated him for assignment on Sunday before he could play in a game. Ramirez elected free agency instead of a job in Triple-A, allowing the Mets to sign him.

"It's definitely been a crazy couple weeks," said Ramirez, who has been throwing regular bullpen sessions but last appeared in a game April 29.

Since the start of last season, six organizations have employed Ramirez, a former Cubs supplemental-round Draft pick and native of Virginia, where he played as a child with David Wright. Ramirez has not pitched a full season since his rookie year in 2014, when he went 3-3 with a 1.44 ERA in 43 2/3 innings. The right-hander owns a 3.72 ERA with 110 strikeouts in 92 innings during his four-year big league career.

"I know I can get guys out," Ramirez said. "I think I've proven that by being able to get those strikeouts. It's just being more consistent."

Statistics aside, the Mets simply need someone who can give a scuffling bullpen some much-needed innings. Entering Tuesday, Mets starters have gone 15 straight games without recording an out in the seventh inning, forcing their relievers to throw an average of 3.8 innings per game over that stretch. Their 57 1/3 innings in that span rank as the second most in the National League, while their .305 opponents' batting average and 7.38 ERA are both worst.

"We certainly are in need of a guy who can come out of the bullpen," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's had some experience down there. Hopefully, he gets some outs for us."

Aside from Josh Smoker, whom the Mets optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas last week, New York has no relievers thriving at Las Vegas, forcing the club to look outside the organization for help.

"Every team kind of goes through struggles throughout the year," Ramirez said, adding that he is "mind-blown" by the Mets' raw talent. "I don't think it's anything new. I'm just ready to get here and help these guys win."

Rotation edit

With Robert Gsellman struggling and the Mets' bullpen starved for fresh arms, the club has decided to skip Gsellman's next start and use him temporarily as a reliever. Due to a team off-day Thursday, no other starter will have to pitch on short rest. Gsellman owns a 9.00 ERA over his last four outings, with seven strikeouts and seven walks in 18 innings.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.