Something had to give after a taxing series for the bullpen in Boston. That someone was Buck Farmer. The long-time Tigers right-hander was designated for assignment on Friday, with veteran reliever Erasmo Ramirez promoted from Triple-A Toledo to take Farmer’s spot in the bullpen.
The Tigers also placed catcher Wilson Ramos on the 10-day injured list with a lumbar strain in his back. The issue tightened up on Ramos in Boston on Thursday night and he was replaced mid-game by Grayson Greiner. That’s particularly unfortunate as Ramos has been one of the few stable bats in the Tigers lineup so far. Taking his place will be catching prospect Jake Rogers, who we haven’t seen since his rocky major league debut in late 2019.
As for Farmer, the road here was a long one. Other than Miguel Cabrera himself, Farmer was the longest tenured Tiger on the roster. Originally selected by the Tigers in the fifth round of the 2013 amateur draft, Farmer made his debut with two starts way back in 2014. It wasn’t until 2018 that the Tigers finally converted him to relief full-time, and Farmer responded with consistently solid work in 2018-2019, accumulating a combined one fWAR in that timespan.
Unfortunately, since a groin strain suffered early in the 2020 season, Farmer hasn’t looked like himself. His fastball velocity is down, and his changeup isn’t playing the way it used to. More to the point, his command has degraded in the process, and it’s hard to know if he’s even fully healthy, as groin strains can remain problematic long after the acute phase resolves. Farmer currently holds a 12.66 ERA, and the peripherals say it’s no early season accident. Presumably Farmer will clear waivers, and so it is likely that we haven’t seen the last of him.
For now, the Tigers will add 31-year-old Erasmo Ramirez into a taxed bullpen. Ramirez broke into the league with the Seattle Mariners and was a fifth starter type for them for three seasons before he was dealt to Tampa Bay, where Ramirez had the best season of his career in 2015. He’s spent the last few seasons bouncing around as middle relief depth in Seattle, Boston, and last year with the New York Mets. Always a command over power guy, he doesn’t strike out or walk many, and as more of a fly ball pitcher in recent years, remains pretty vulnerable to the long bal