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Tampa Bay Rays acquire OF Harold Ramirez from Cubs

The power bat has launch angle problems, but meets a need for another righty in the Rays offense.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired outfielder Harold Ramirez from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league infielder Esteban Quiroz. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the Rays have moved right-handed pitcher Nick Anderson to the 60-day Injured List.

Ramirez, 27, began his professional career with the Pittsburgh Pirates after being signed as part of their 2011 international class of amatuer free agents. As he progressed his way through the system, Ramirez eventually became one of the top prospects in baseball as Baseball America tabbed him at the 95th top prospect entering the 2016 season. Later that summer, Ramirez would be sent to Toronto as part of a deal to acquire Drew Hutchison from the Blue Jays.

During his time with Toronto, Ramirez stagnated and his status as a top prospect disipated. He would ultimately become a free agent after being outrighted off of Toronto’s 40-man roster at the end of the 2018 season. The Marlins then signed him to a minor league deal, and would make his big league debut during the 2019 season with Miami, showcasing some power potential as he hit 11 HR over 446 plate appearances.

However, he struggled in 2020 and would eventually be designated for assignment where upon he was claimed by the Cleveland Gaurdians, with whom he spent the 2021 campaign. With Cleveland last season, Ramirez hit .268/.305/.398 with 7 HR over 361 plate appearances (90 wRC+ / 0.0 fWAR).

The Chicago Cubs picked Ramirez up off of the waiver wire prior to baseball’s lockout in December. Heading into spring training, Ramirez was delayed due to visa issues and during his first day in camp, it was announced he had been traded to the Rays.

According to Baseball Savant, Ramirez ranked in the 85th percentile of average exit velocity last season, but his launch angle has prevented that raw power from resulting in a fully realized as in-game power. (Editor’s note: Think a poor man’s Yandy Diaz)

Quiroz was acquired as part of the deal that sent Jake Cronenworth and Tommy Pham to the San Diego Padres. A solid hitting middle infielder, Quiroz’s path the big leagues was blocked from regular playing time by multiple prospects, including Xavier Edwards who was acquired along with Quiroz, and blocked from a speedy bench role by Brett Phillips, who serves as the Rays top pinch runner.

Ramirez, a right-handed hitting outfielder, will primarily serve as depth for the Rays as their outfield is already jammed to capacity.