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May 22, 2013

Skewed Left

A Somewhat Happy 40th for the Immortal Ramon Ortiz

by Zachary Levine


Ramon Ortiz turns 40 tomorrow, and I didn’t get him anything. That’s probably okay. Nobody else did, either, and that’s what makes the end for him so much harder to watch.

We remember the end for the great ones, whether they went out on top like Chipper Jones and seemingly Mariano Rivera, or with nothing left, like Willie Mays. And by the way, we got them something.

Ortiz’s career has taken another fascinating turn in 2013, not because he added another team to his collection—he crosses off a new one every season—but because he got called up to join the rotation of a team that was favored to win the American League East.

If you had been given this set of facts about Ortiz in 2007, what odds would you have put on his pitching A) Six years later, in his age-40 season, B) In a starting rotation, C) For a team that came in with talent expected to win a division?

  • He was 34 and had pitched for four teams in three seasons
  • His last year with an ERA below 5.30 was three years earlier
  • He had never recorded a season above 1.5 WARP and had only one season above 1.0 WARP

Okay, how about 2 ½ years later, after he didn’t play in the majors in 2008 or 2009? How about two years after that, after he’d been worse than replacement level in 2010 and 2011? And how about after the 2012 season, when he once again couldn’t find major league time?

As Ortiz’s career comes to an end, it’s worth noting just how remarkable his career has been, even though he’s the type who will generally be skipped over in the career obituaries and fade quietly. Ortiz has lasted in the major leagues since 1999 despite putting up almost no value in the aggregate.

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Related Content:  Blue Jays,  Ramon Ortiz

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Scouting the Draft: Ce... (05/22)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Skewed Left: The Shift... (05/21)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: The Real ... (05/28)
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The Lineup Card: 7 Bas... (05/22)

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