The Pirates and Brewers have announced a trade that will send third baseman Aramis Ramirez to Pittsburgh in exchange for minor league right-hander Yhonathan Barrios and cash considerations. The Pirates are reportedly taking on $3MM of the $5.74MM that remains on Ramirez’s $14MM salary.
[RELATED: Pirates Working On Trade For Reliever]
The Pirates have a clear need for infield help after losing both Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer to significant injuries that will keep each on the shelf for another four and six weeks, respectively. Offseason signing Jung Ho Kang figures to man shortstop full time for the foreseeable, with Ramirez serving as the Pirates’ everyday third baseman until Harrison is healthy. At that point, Ramirez could either become a part-time option at third and/or platoon partner for Pedro Alvarez at first base. Another option for the Bucs, though, would be to keep Ramirez at third base and shift the highly versatile Harrison to right field, which would likely cut into the playing time of the struggling Gregory Polanco.
Ramirez got off to a brutal start to the season, posting just a .404 OPS through his first 17 games. However, since that time, Ramirez has looked more like himself, batting .270/.327/.477 with 10 homers in 245 plate appearances. He’s been particularly productive in the month of July, hitting a mammoth .352/.422/.500.
Ramirez, who initially came up with the Pirates and has spent his entire career in the NL Central, has said that he intends to retire at season’s end, and he reiterated that fact following today’s trade, tweets MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. The veteran added that reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2008 in his final season, though, would mean a lot to him. Interestingly, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes (also on Twitter) that today marks the 12-year anniversary of the initial trade that sent Ramirez from Pittsburgh to the division-rival Cubs.
Turning to the Brewers’ side of the deal, the 23-year-old Barrios began his career as an infielder but converted to the mound full-time in 2013. Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel rated him as the club’s No. 30 prospect heading into the season, writing that he sits 94-98 mph with his fastball and has touched 100 mph at times. Barrios, McDaniel noted, has a low effort delivery for a reliever and is still learning to pitch, so there’s some upside with him. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper calls Barrios a lottery ticket (Twitter link), noting that he has a big arm but lacks quality secondary pitches in addition to having “iffy control.”
Barrios, a native of Colombia, sports a 2.68 ERA in 40 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A this season, though he’s not missing many bats. Barrios has averaged 4.7 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 in 2015. He missed more bats in 2013 and 2014, however, and given his velocity, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see those strikeout numbers eventually come around.
NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra first reported that Ramirez was headed to Pittsburgh in a trade (via Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Pirates were taking on $3MM of Ramirez’s salary (also via Twitter).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. This post was initially published 7-23-15 at 4:40pm central time.