The Braves will designate right-handed reliever Jose Ramirez for assignment, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. Ramirez’s departure from the 40-man roster will allow the Braves to add left-hander Hunter Cervenka and right-hander Joel De La Cruz to the 40-man and 25-man rosters. The Braves still need to clear another spot on the 40-man, though presumably they could do so by transferring left-hander Jesse Biddle or right-hander Daniel Winkler (who, sadly, fractured his elbow in yesterday’s contest) to the 60-day disabled list.
Ramirez, 26, began last season with the Yankees but was traded to the Mariners alongside Ramon Flores in exchange for Dustin Ackley. The new Seattle front office subsequently flipped Ramirez to the Braves in exchange for a player to be named later (Ryne Harper) this offseason.
Ramirez appeared in two games for the Braves, and though he struck out four batters in his two innings of work, he also surrendered six runs on five hits and four walks. Ramirez throws hard, having averaged 95.1 mph on his fastball in the Majors, and he’s said to have a plus changeup to pair with that velocity. Ramirez, though, does have a lengthy injury history, and his performance in the Majors and upper minors has yet to line up with his raw stuff. The right-hander’s 2016 struggles have caused his Major League ERA to balloon to 10.53 (in a small 19 2/3 innings sample), and he has a 4.06 ERA in 106 1/3 minor league innings as well.
Cervenka and De La Cruz, each 26 years old, will be making their big league debuts with the Braves. Neither was drafted by Atlanta (Cervenka was drafted by the Red Sox, while De La Cruz was initially signed by the Brewers), but each signed a minor league deal with the Braves this past year and were in camp as non-roster invitees. Cervenka has displayed a penchant for missing bats but also questionable control of the strike zone, as evidenced by career averages of 9.1 strikeouts and 5.9 walks per nine innings in the minors. Last year, he held lefties to a .224/.318/.241 slash while pitching for the Cubs’ Double-A affiliate . De La Cruz, meanwhile, has a 3.99 ERA in 128 1/3 Triple-A innings. Last year he split the season between the Yankees’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, combining to throw 84 1/3 innings of 3.41 ERA ball with 4.5 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9.