Guardians trade Harold Ramirez to Chicago Cubs, J.C. Mejia to Milwaukee Brewers
The Guardians traded outfielder Harold Ramirez to the Chicago Cubs and pitcher J.C. Mejia to the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday in two deals that were connected to the flurry of roster moves a few days ago.
Both Ramirez and Mejia were designated for assignment on Friday, along with five others, to make room for the 11 players the Guardians wanted to add to their 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft protection deadline.
Ramirez was dealt for cash considerations. Mejia was dealt for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Since they were designated for assignment, trading them simply allows the receiving team to acquire the player before they can be put on waivers and potentially claimed by other teams.
In 2021, his lone season in Cleveland, Ramirez hit .268 with a .703 OPS, seven home runs, 21 doubles and 41 RBI in 92 games. It wasn't nearly enough offensive production to make up for his defensive liabilities in the outfield, where he accrued minus-8 defensive runs saved. He was one of 10 American League outfielders to finish with minus-8 DRS or worse.
"Harold contributed so much to our team last year and at times hit in the middle of the order for us ... [but] we had to make some difficult decisions," president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Saturday. "We took off some players [from the 40-man roster] that we think are going to continue to contribute at the major league level and be productive.”
Mejia was pushed into a larger role because of injuries to three members of the starting rotation but struggled to find any consistency, finishing the season with an 8.25 ERA, a 6.15 FIP and 47 strikeouts in 52⅓ innings.
Outfielder Daniel Johnson and pitchers Justin Garza, Scott Moss, Kyle Nelson and Alex Young were all designated for assignment Friday in addition to Ramirez and Mejia.
Two of the seven players designated for assignment have now been traded, with five more waiting to hear their fates. If any of the five end up clearing waivers, Antonetti said the team would be open to a return. As the Guardians and other teams prepared to shuffle their 40-man rosters ahead of Friday's deadline, a good deal of planning went into how it all might play out in corresponding moves later on.
"Had some preliminary conversations over the course of the past week, as I mentioned, not only about players that we added to the roster but players we were removing," Antonetti said. "If we can find a trade partner for them, we will seek to do that. If not, then we would ask waivers on them next week and have a little more information of their status on Wednesday of next week.”
Although five pitchers were taken off the 40-man roster, three were added in prospects Cody Morris, Konnor Pilkington and Tobias Myers. The last was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and then added to the 40-man roster on Friday, which is now full.
Catcher Sandy Leon was also signed Monday to a minor-league deal that includes in an invitation to big-league camp.
Leon, 32, spent the 2020 season with Cleveland and 2021 with the Miami Marlins. In 10 major league seasons, Leon has a career .183 average with a combined .596 OPS. Leon adds low-risk catching depth to the Guardians' 2022 camp after Roberto Perez's club option was declined. Austin Hedges and prospect Bryan Lavastida are the lone catchers on the Guardians' 40-man roster.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about the Guardians at www.beaconjournal.com/sports/cleveland-guardians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Guardians trade Harold Ramirez to Chicago Cubs, J.C. Mejia to Milwaukee Brewers