Mariners re-acquire Erasmo Ramirez from the Rays for reliever Steve Cishek

The happy, smiling little ball of pitching versatility that is Erasmo Ramirez is coming back to the organization that originally gave him his start in professional baseball.

On Friday morning, the Mariners brought back Ramirez from the Rays in a trade that sent reliever Steve Cishek to Tampa in return.

A trade between two teams vying for a wild card spot is somewhat unusual, but both players address needs for each team.

The Mariners get a pitcher in Ramirez that provides some versatility and club control. He’s arbitration eligible for 2018 and 2019. He can either start or pitch in long relief. With the addition of David Phelps, Seattle’s need to use Cishek in higher leverage roles, which Tampa plans to do, had minimized. Cishek is also a free agent at the end of the season. The Mariners are also sending cash to the Rays to offset the difference in salaries for 2017. Ramirez makes just over $3.1 million, while Cishek was making $6 million.

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“I expect him as a starter now,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “That’s part of the wonder of versatility: you can do either. So right now, what he provides us, is almost a perfect scenario in that he can start. We have the ability with young guys like Andrew Moore and Marco Gonzalez to potentially promote if that is something we want to explore later this season. And Erasmo has also had a fair amount of success in this league as a starter. We feel that some combination of his ability to swing, whether it’s that long guy in the pen, that multi-inning reliever, or a starter, is really appealing to us right now.”

Ramirez, 27, was 4-3 with a save, six holds and a 4.80 ERA eight starts and 18 relief appearances. As a reliever, he posted a 3.23 ERA (11 ER, 30.2 IP) with 23 strikeouts in 18 appearances, while limiting opponents to…

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