Untouchable # 5: A.J. Ramos
Fully expect this one to be the most controversial, as I’m sure there’s a lot of Marlin Maniacs out there having Steve Cishek flashbacks right about now. Throw in the occasionally terrifying, Antonio Alfonseca-style, nature of some of his saves, and the argument probably sounds particularly absurd.
But here’s the thing: he gets the job done. Check out the prospect packages that have been thrown around for relief pitchers so far this Trade Deadline season. Reliable late-inning arms are essential to winning, expensive to acquire, and immensely valuable to the teams that own them. Weakening the bullpen, especially now that we are in a post-Carter Capps universe, would have the 2017 Marlins starting off at a huge disadvantage. Dealing him this season would obviously be nothing short of insane given 2016 playoff hopes.
Then there’s the matter of who his BFF and roommate is: Giancarlo Stanton. Not exactly the best message to send to the face of your franchise, dealing away a productive close friend now for cheaper and/or not immediately useful pieces.
Ramos stays. With plenty of arbitration years left, he’ll still be affordable relative to the rest of the relief market. And should the next year not go as smoothly as ownership hopes, he could end up netting quite the return down the line.
Next: Untouchable # 4