The Cubs acquired outfielder Harold Ramirez from Cleveland last November for what was described as “a cash consideration.”
Ramirez never played a game in a Cubs uniform. His arrival at Cubs Spring Training was delayed by visa issues in his native Colombia.
Today, the Cubs traded Ramirez to the Tampa Bay Rays for a 30-year-old minor league infielder named Esteban Quiroz. Last year, Quiroz hit hit .268/.401/.526 (57-for-213) with 19 doubles, 12 home runs, 48 RBI, 43 walks and a .927 OPS in 68 games for Triple-A Durham. Those are pretty good minor-league numbers but again... age 30, I doubt the Cubs are expecting much from him except to fill a role at Triple-A Iowa. Quiroz is primarily a second baseman. From our SB Nation friends at DRays Bay:
Esteban Quiroz is hardly a bright new face — he’s about to turn thirty — but he was a valuable depth piece that the Rays weren’t forced to use. He was acquired from the San Diego Padres as part of the Tommy Pham trade. He will be exposed to the Rule 5 draft when the offseason resumes, so it remains to be seen whether another team has room for him on a major league roster.
Quiroz hit .268/.401/.526 and put up a 149 wRC+. His .936 OPS was only bested by Franco’s .955 OPS by a player with more than 20 plate appearances. In 262 plate appearances he hit 12 homers and 19 doubles leading to a .258 ISO.
Quiroz mostly played second base but isn’t a well-regarded defender. His age doesn’t give him the upside of many of his teammates, but he was an elite performer at the AAA level.
When the Cubs acquired Ramirez it appeared there might be a spot for him on the roster as perhaps a fifth outfielder, but with the signings of Clint Frazier and Seiya Suzuki, there really wasn’t room for Ramirez. Best of luck to him in Tampa. Who knows, we still might see him at Wrigley in April — the Rays visit April 18-20.
The important effect of this trade is clearing a 40-man roster spot, in case the Cubs want or need to add someone (Jesse Chavez, perhaps?) before Opening Day.
As always, we await developments.