Washington Nationals: AJ Ramos worthy trade target

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 27: AJ Ramos
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 27: AJ Ramos /

With the trade deadline looming, the Washington Nationals might still be after a closer. AJ Ramos of the Miami Marlins is a solid option.

If the Washington Nationals are still in the market for bullpen help, then AJ Ramos of the Miami Marlins may fill the bill.

Miami is a team about to hold yet another fire sale. David Phelps went to Seattle. Christian Yelich will certainly leave South Florida while relations between the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton are strained. The beaches are still fun, but the old Orange Bowl is not.

For the Nats, this is a time to take advantage.

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As they continue to shuffle their bullpen roles as if the Nats were playing seven-card stud, the team has no true current closer. Sean Doolittle likely has the job. Koda Glover has promise when healthy.

Yet, Doolittle has not been a primary closer since 2004 and Glover’s health issues are real. If the Nats feel they need a current closer, they could do worse than Ramos. They could do better, but finding a partner not wanting a haul of top prospects is a challenge.

Ramos has filled the role for Miami the last three years.

Although the ERA is higher this year at 3.96 over 2.81, his supporting numbers are better. The WHIP is down to 1.266 from 1.359. His K/9 rate is 11.1 from 10.3 and the BB/9 ratio, although still high, is down to 4.7 from 4.9. If you are wondering about hits, his 6.7 H/9 does the job.

As the closer, Ramos converted 18 of the 20 saves chances so far. He will throw his share of pitches as he topped 20 six times over his last 13 times on the mound.

He throws a fastball that is not pure gas, but mixes in an effective changeup and slider with different speeds. When he finds the strike zone, he is effective. Opponents carry a slash line of .203/.312/.338 against him. Solid numbers. When they make contact, the batting average jumps to .274.

Under team control next year, costing around $3 million this season, Ramos could give the Nats a decent option as Glover matures. Allowing Doolittle to set up with the others shrinks the amount of work the starters need to do to win games. This would put them on the verge of a bullpen capable of getting nine easy outs.

Next: Grace steps up

If Miami’s demands are reasonable, Ramos could be the missing championship piece. That is what this year is all about.