By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
As the players enjoyed a much-needed off-day under the sun in Tampa, the Blue Jays front office was quick to put in a waiver claim on Neil Ramirez, a right-handed reliever who was designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
Ramirez, 28, is a former first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers (2007) and has pitched in parts of four major league seasons since breaking in with the Chicago Cubs in 2014.
To date, the 6-foot-4 hurler, who boasts an average fastball velocity of 93 mph, owns a SO/9 rating of 10.8 with 45 walks and 13 home runs allowed across 92 career innings at the big league level.
After effectively establishing himself by notching an ERA of 1.44 across 50 appearances with the Cubs during his rookie campaign, the product of Virginia Beach, Va., has struggled to replicate the kind of success that made him a dominating force in the Cubs pen as a 25-year-old four seasons ago.
With a career ground ball percentage of only 28.3, Ramirez is a known fly ball pitcher and has recently struggled with the long ball. In 2016, he allowed a home run on 21.1 percent of all fly balls hit and although that number has dropped to 13.1 percent in a sample-sized showing this season, it still represents a cause for concern given the fact that he's now moving to the more hitter-friendly confines of the American League East.
Having appeared in nine games with the Giants in 2017, Ramirez had yet to factor into a decision despite posting an inflated ERA of 13.06 over 10 1/3 innings of work.
Out of options, Ramirez will be placed on the Blue Jays 25-man roster and is expected to join the team in advance of their three-game set against the Rays this weekend.
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