10:55 am May. 25, 2012
Manny Acosta's time with the Mets should be up.
The righty has an unsightly 10.80 E.R.A. in 21 2/3 innings this season. His strikeout rate is as good as ever, around a batter per inning, but the control problems that kept Acosta from excelling in prior years with the Braves have returned in full force, with more than six walks per nine innings. And Acosta's strikes have been awfully hittable as well.
Now 31, there's little argument for keeping Acosta around to see if he develops. This is Acosta, in all likelihood, finished developing.
But the motivation to let Acosta go didn't really exist until recently, given the alternatives at Triple-A Buffalo.
And then along came Elvin.
That would be Elvin Ramirez, well-traveled relief prospect for the New York Mets.
The Mets had signed Ramirez as an amateur free agent, and he toiled in the low minors for New York from 2006 through 2010, showing a flashy fastball that allowed him to pile up the strikeouts, but a lack of command that meant a healthy dose of walks, too. Think of him as an unpolished Manny Acosta, but young enough to become better.
That lack of refinement meant that New York chose not to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, which allows other teams to select players from rival organizations. The Washington Nationals snapped him up, looking for that potential. But Ramirez promptly hurt his shoulder, missing the 2011 season. At year's end, the Nationals returned him to New York.
The Mets started him at Double-A Binghamton, and liked enough of what they saw to advance him to Triple-A Buffalo earlier this month. He's been completely dominant there, striking out 12 over 10 2/3 innings, and walking just one batter.
The problem with projecting Ramirez is that 10 2/3 Triple-A inninngs is an exceedingly small sample to assume anything. He also has very little minor league track record, and almost none of it is particularly recent.
But the Mets also have very little to lose. Ramrirez is 24, and doesn't have much more development time at Triple-A. He lacks the secondary pitches to be a starter; this is a bullpen arm, for better or worse.
They'd have to open up a 40-man roster spot for Ramirez, but this would be achieved by cutting Acosta. And unlike Acosta, Ramirez stands a chance of both helping in 2012, and potentially becoming an effective reliever under team control for the next several years.
New York could take that chance. Or they can keep running the guy out there who is finished developing, and has an E.R.A. around 11.