Given the new GM having come over from Cleveland, and given the sheer volume of players recently DFA’d by the Guardians (seven last week!), I wondered if the Cubs were gonna jump on that.
Sure enough, they did:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 22, 2021
Harold Ramirez, 27, was a long-time top Pirates prospect before he was traded to the Blue Jays in the Drew Hutchison trade back in 2016 (he was a top 100ish prospect at the time). From there he played a couple years in the Blue Jays farm system before heading over to the Marlins, where he broke into the big leagues in 2019, posting near league average numbers with a good contact rate. The defense was wanting, though, and he didn’t get much of a look in 2020. From there, Cleveland picked him up off of waivers before the 2021 season, and he simply didn’t hit enough to hold into his job.
In the minor leagues, at least, the guy has always hit well:
The offensive profile appears to be in the vein of a guy who swings a whole lot, doesn’t miss very often, and is line-drive heavy. It’s a bit of a Frank Schwindel profile, which is not to say you can pencil in Ramirez to be the next Schwindel. (Though Ramirez certainly rakes at Triple-A, so the only question is translating it into the bigs.)
The fit with the Cubs is a bit funky, as he’s yet another right-handed outfield bat without any minor league options remaining. In a world where the DH is coming to the NL, though, you kinda just want to take some chances on upside in guys like Ramirez, even if they’re out of options (Michael Hermosillo is a similar example), and just see if you can get them some at bats.
That said, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cubs try to sneak Ramirez through waivers later in the offseason. They might not be able to make it happen, though, since he was clearly an attractive target this time around – consider that the Cubs have the 7th waiver position and had to trade cash to the Guardians to get him.
In any case, really interesting pick-up here. One of those borderline big league bats where you don’t quite know how you might work him in. But he’s only 27, has big league experience, has shown his bat is too good for Triple-A, so why not be the team that gets the next chance to get him over the hump? And perhaps Cubs GM Carter Hawkins, who came over from Cleveland, knows a little something extra about why there is hope for Ramirez yet?
Right now, the Cubs’ outfield group is quite the mishmash of options, from Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, and Rafael Ortega as the “big league guys,” to Michael Hermosillo and Harold Ramirez as the “maybe” guys, to Greg Deichmann, Brennen Davis, Nelson Velazquez, and recently-signed Narciso Crook as the “minor league guys.” Still space there for a significant addition, otherwise the Cubs will be doing a whole lot of mixing, matching, and betting on getting 90th percentile outcomes from guys.
The Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 38.