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Rays trade Ramos to Angels for Sappington

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have traded left-hander Cesar Ramos to the Angels for Minor League right-hander Mark Sappington.

Sappington is not on the 40-man roster, so that puts the Rays at 39. Ramos was arbitration eligible and could be in line for a raise from his $750,000 salary in 2014.

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have traded left-hander Cesar Ramos to the Angels for Minor League right-hander Mark Sappington.

Sappington is not on the 40-man roster, so that puts the Rays at 39. Ramos was arbitration eligible and could be in line for a raise from his $750,000 salary in 2014.

"The Angels have been the most amazing organization and I appreciate the opportunity," Sappington said. "...I'm really thankful for everything that they've given me. They're a first-class organization. They've done so many things and given me so many opportunities. It's been great and I'm looking forward to a new opportunity with the Rays.

Prospect acquired by Rays
Mark Sappington, RHP: A fifth-round pick of the Angels in the 2012 Draft, Sappington was the No. 11 prospect on the Angels' Top 20 at the time of the trade. The big right-hander had a huge first full season, reaching Double-A in 2013. He struggled to repeat the performance in 2014, though a move to the bullpen seemed to help him get headed back in the right direction. He was adding some innings in the Arizona Fall League when the deal was announced. He has the fastball-slider combination, as well as the aggressive mentality on the mound, to excel in a short-relief role. He's been up to 97 mph in the past, and his hard-tilting breaking ball can miss bats as well. His changeup and his command were his enemies in 2014, which won't be as big of a problem if he's coming out of the bullpen.
Top 20 Prospects: Rays | Angels
-- Jonathan Mayo

"I'm going to miss everybody. I love a lot of people with the Angels and I can't wait to meet my new teammates. It's an awesome opportunity and I can't wait to get going."

Sappington, 23, split the 2014 season between Double-A Arkansas and Class A Inland Empire, going 4-11 with a 6.02 ERA in 42 appearances (17 starts). He converted to the bullpen in July, and went 2-0 with five saves, a 3.38 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 32 innings from 25 relief appearances.

Currently he is on the roster of the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League and is now the No. 19 prospect in the Rays' organization according to MLB.com. Sappington was named to the California League midseason and postseason All-Star teams in 2013. He was selected by the Angels in the fifth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

Ramos, 30, went 2-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 43 appearances (seven starts) in 2014, establishing a career high in innings pitched. He posted a 2.92 ERA in 36 relief appearances and a 5.04 mark as a starter. Ramos was 5-9 with a 3.66 ERA over four seasons with the Rays, and has a career 3.90 ERA in parts of six Major League seasons.

Ramos joined the Rays prior to the 2011 season in a trade with the Padres.

"I'm definitely thankful for the opportunity the Rays gave me," Ramos said. "They gave me a chance to establish myself as a Major League pitcher. It was a unique place to play and I'm thankful to everybody from the clubhouse staff and field personnel to the front office. Now, I guess, I'm ready for the next chapter."

Ramos was born in Los Angeles and went to Long Beach State University, so he was excited to be returning home.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays, Cesar Ramos, Mark Sappington