Neil Ramirez Rumors

NL Central Notes: Reds, Parra, Soriano, Alvarez

The Reds have opened the doors on a fire sale, writes John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Todd Frazier will stay put. Billy Hamilton probably isn’t going anywhere. Most others are probably on the table. Fay expects at least four players to be traded, presumably Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Aroldis Chapman, and Marlon Byrd as a starting point. Others like Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, and Skip Schumaker are also expected to be shopped. The Reds are seven games below .500 and 15.5 games back in the NL Central. It’s probably too late for a rebound.

Here’s more news out of the NL Central:

  • Gerardo Parra‘s strong play has all but ensured that he’ll be traded by the Brewers, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Parra is in the midst of a career season, hitting .311/.345/.502 with nine home runs and six stolen bases. Known for fantastic defense, he’s actually struggled this year per Ultimate Zone Rating (-9.8 UZR). Still, plenty of playoff teams have need of a high average, left-handed outfielder.
  • Cubs manager Joe Maddon said reliever Rafael Soriano might be “up sooner than planned,” tweets Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune. Soriano was signed on June 12. He has a career 2.85 ERA and 207 saves in 630 innings. The Cubs have manufactured a pseudo-closer battle. They demoted Hector Rondon from the role earlier in the summer despite solid production. The club also recently called up Neil Ramirez – another candidate for saves.
  • The Pirates would probably like to de-emphasize Pedro Alvarez, reports Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The former third baseman has continued his defensive ineptitude at first base with 15 errors. He’s also offered a .233/.299/.424 slash which is well below average for a first baseman. Unfortunately, the Pirates will have to look outside of the organization to move beyond Alvarez. Adam Lind is probably the most notable first baseman on the trade market. If the Pirates get creative, they could also try a three-team swap for Jon Singleton. Typically, Pittsburgh will look for fringier options like Chris Parmelee. We heard earlier this evening that the Orioles may soon designate Parmelee for assignment.

Cubs Acquire Neil Ramirez To Complete Garza Deal

The Rangers announced that they have sent right-handed pitcher Neil Ramirez to the Cubs, completing the July 22nd trade that sent Matt Garza to Chicago.  

The Garza deal called for a player to be named later to be sent to Chicago, but with one interesting wrinkle.  Theo Epstein & Co. had the choice of either acquiring Ramirez or two other hurlers from an agreed upon list of names.  After giving it some thought, the Cubs opted for the former.

Ramirez, 24, was ranked as the 23rd best prospect in the Rangers' system heading into this season by Baseball America, but the publication had him as high as No. 5 at one point thanks to his strong 2011 minor league season.  In 2012, his stock fell a bit as he dealt with shoulder fatigue and was demoted to Double-A to finish out the season.  Ramirez was a starter during his time in the Texas system, but BA writes that the club saw his big league future in the bullpen as he had a tendency to overthink things when in the rotation.

The right-hander has spent all of 2013 with the Rangers' Double-A affiliate, posting a 3.84 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 21 starts.  He'll stay at the Double-A level as he will report to the Cubs' affiliate in Tennessee, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter).