Twins catching prospect Wilson Ramos, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, became "one of the better trade chips in baseball" when Joe Mauer signed his eight-year extension. Goldstein ranked Ramos #65 overall among prospects. Baseball America put him at #58, while ESPN's Keith Law has him at #42.
In their 2010 Handbook, Baseball America wrote that Ramos is "almost big league-ready and has significant upside." All three outlets consider him an aggressive but above-average hitter with a cannon for an arm. Though Ramos missed almost three months with injuries in '09, he hit .317/.341/.454 at Double A and played well in winter ball.
Asked what the Twins should do with Ramos, Law recently said, "Trade him. And I don't mean for Heath Bell." Austin Jackson, Tim Alderson, Carlos Carrasco, and Jason Donald, Chris Perez, and Aaron Poreda are examples of prospects ranked in the #40-60 range on 2009 prospect lists who were recently traded for veterans. Each deal had its own nuances and additional parts, but the prospects named were typically headliners. They were used to acquire Curtis Granderson, Freddy Sanchez, Cliff Lee, Mark DeRosa, and Jake Peavy, veterans with varying contract situations.
Clearly Ramos can help bring in a major piece for the Twins. As Law indicates, it's not worth spending that chip on a reliever. A third baseman or an ace starting pitcher would make more sense, but at this point I can't find an appropriate name for the Twins to pursue. They may choose to let Ramos spend all of 2010 at Triple A and evaluate their needs in the offseason.