MIAMI -- On Thursday night, AJ Ramos worked 1 1/3 innings for the 92nd save in his career. A night later, Miami dealt the 30-year-old to the Mets for two prospects.After the Marlins defeated the Reds, 7-4, on Friday night at Marlins Park, the club announced Ramos is heading to
MIAMI -- On Thursday night, AJ Ramos worked 1 1/3 innings for the 92nd save in his career. A night later, Miami dealt the 30-year-old to the Mets for two prospects.
After the Marlins defeated the Reds, 7-4, on Friday night at Marlins Park, the club announced Ramos is heading to New York for right-handed starter Merandy Gonzalez and center fielder Ricardo Cespedes.
In 40 appearances and 39 2/3 innings, Ramos compiled a 3.63 ERA with 20 saves in 22 opportunities this season.
"This one is especially tough, just given the history with AJ," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "He's our guy. Drafted. Developed. Came through our system. Watched him blossom into an All-Star closer for us. To part ways with him is definitely difficult. But we wished him nothing but the best, except when he's playing us. He was a pro, as usual."
Moving Ramos marks the second significant trade the Marlins have made involving a reliever. Miami dealt David Phelps to the Mariners on July 20.
Hill added that right-hander Brad Ziegler, on the disabled list with a right back strain since June 22, is expected to be reinstated on Saturday. Ziegler, who has 85 career saves, is a candidate to close.
Gonzalez, according to MLBPipeline.com, ranked as the Mets' No. 9 prospect, with Cespedes 22nd.
Ramos has overcome long odds throughout his professional career. A 21st-round pick in 2009 from Texas Tech University, he developed into an All-Star in '16 and became one of the most durable and dependable relievers in the organization's history. His 92 saves are tied for fourth on the franchise's all-time list with Juan Carlos Oviedo. Robb Nen is the leader with 108.
The Marlins have had a disappointing season, improving to 48-53 after Friday's win. But because they are 13 1/2 games behind the Nationals in the National League East and nine out of the second NL Wild Card spot, they are making moves for the future.
"We, obviously, had different designs on how this season was going to go," Hill said. "We felt, coming into Spring Training, that this was going to be a competitive team, a playoff team. For a myriad of reasons, we haven't played as well as we'd have liked."
The Marlins have also traded shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to the Rays. Miami is agressively in conversations with clubs concerning backup catcher A.J. Ellis, who would be a fit with the Cubs, and right-hander Dan Straily. Ellis will be a free agent at the end of the season, while Straily has three-plus seasons remaining under club control. The Marlins plan to be active prior to Monday's 4 p.m. non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Dealing within the division to the rival Mets, Hill said, came down to which team made the best offer.
"Ultimately, you go where the best players are," Hill said. "We really liked the players we were able to get back for AJ. That's what ultimately took us down this path. We're trying to get better, and to add as much talent and depth to the system."
Gonzalez, 21, has a combined record of 12-3 with a 1.78 ERA in 17 starts at two Class-A levels.
Cespedes, 19, is a left-handed-hitting and throwing center fielder, He has spent time with three teams this season, combining for a .255 average in 29 games.
"You're talking about the reliever market, at this time of the year, you have an opportunity to get value for guys," Hill said of why Ramos was moved now. "More value than you probably could get at any other point in the year. Where we're at, we feel like we have some depth [with] bullpen arms [where] we can find out how they fit in the organization, moving forward."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.