The Mets have acquired reliever A.J. Ramos in a trade with the Marlins for minor-league pitcher Merandy Gonzalez and outfielder Ricardo Cespedes, as reported by FOX’s Ken Rosenthal and Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Ramos was one of the top relievers left on the trade market and drew interest from many contenders (including the Rockies, Red Sox, Rays, Brewers, Indians and Nationals) so the Mets’ move for him comes as a major surprise. New York is known to be shopping a reliever of their own, Addison Reed, a pending free agent who is likely to be dealt before Monday’s non-waiver deadline.
Ramos, 30, is under control for next season as well, so it’s clear New York hopes he’ll be a key part of its bullpen once its starters are back healthy in 2018. The Mets, who currently sit 14 games back of the lead in the NL East appear to be envisioning the back end of their bullpen consisting of Ramos, lefty Jerry Blevins and closer Jeurys Familia next season.
Ramos owns a 3.63 ERA and 10.7 K/9 while saving 20 games for the Marlins this season, just one year after being named to the NL All-Star team. He is a veteran of six major-league seasons and is earning $6.55 million on the year before hitting the arbitration process for the third and final time this winter.
Miami has now traded both Ramos and reliever David Phelps, though a huge sale shouldn’t be expected from the Marlins over the weekend. While Dan Straily and Dee Gordon could be shipped out, it’s not expected that Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich will be moved.
Gonzalez, 21, will be ranked by MLB.com as the 6th-best prospect in the Marlins’ farm system. He was originally signed by the Mets out of the Dominican Republic in 2013 and has spent this year at Single-A Columbia, posting an impressive 1.55 ERA and 8.4 K/9 in 11 starts. He was recently promoted to Hi-A St. Lucie.
Gonzalez projects as a starter at the highest level and owns a 2.58 ERA in 342.1 innings over five minor-league seasons.
Cespedes, who is not related to Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, is ranked no. 24 on MLB.com’s list of Miami’s prospects. The 19-year-old has bounced around three levels of the organization this year, reaching as high as Single-A Columbia while hitting a combined .255/.283/.294 with one homer and one steal in 29 games.
Cespedes has five strong tools and projects as a major-league right-fielder. He has dealt with injury issues this season.
Miami has now acquired five organizational top-30 prospects by dealing Phelps and Ramos, netting Gonzalez and Cespedes along with outfielder Brayan Hernandez and pitchers Brandon Miller and Pablo Lopez.