On a day that saw David Price head north of the border, the New York Yankees went out and pulled off possibly the most ho-hum deal of the past few days. Dustin Ackley, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft, heads to New York. Who did the Mariners score in the deal?
Ramon Flores, outfielder. Flores was signed out of Venezuela by the Yankees in 2008. He made his way up the Yankees ladder putting together a nice Minor League career. He has been regarded a top 30 Yankees prospect by many sources for the past two seasons. His best season came in 2012 as a member of the Tampa Yankees when he slashed .302/.370/.420 with six home runs and 39 RBI, while swiping 24 of 33 stolen base attempts over 131 games.
An injury plagued 2014 held him back in Triple-A a bit, but he finally got his cup of coffee in the Bronx earlier this season. He went 7-for-32 (.219) striking out four times and walking none.
Now 23-years old, Flores is pretty much what he is. He can be a nice fourth outfielder for many teams, but with several other outfield options in the minors, including their No. 2 prospect Aaron Judge, it would have been hard for Flores to earn his keep in the Majors while in New York.
Flores brings a solid understanding of the strike zone to Seattle. His walk rate usually sits above 10%, sitting at 12.1% this season after finishing at 12.2% in 2014 at Triple-A. His strike out rate has also improved each year. He combined for an 88:72 ratio over his 591 career Triple-A plate appearances.
Standing at 5 foot 10 and 190 pounds, there probably isn’t much more power coming from the left hander’s bat at this point in his career. His modest speed and above average defensive skills at all three outfield positions project him to be a nice .280 hitting fourth outfielder that could generate seven to ten home runs over a full season. With his ability to make contact and not strikeout, he seems like he would be a reliable option off of the bench.
Flores has a shot to make an impact in Seattle sooner than in New York. Ackley had been serving as a utility outfielder and is now in the Bronx. Seth Smith the starting left fielder (where Flores seems to be most comfortable) isn’t having a season to remember. Flores could easily fit right into the roster, or at the very least merit a September look.
Jose Ramirez, relief pitcher. The Mariners also pulled in 25-year old right handed reliever Jose Ramirez. The Yankees once had high aspirations for Ramirez as a starter in their system, but due to injuries and control issues, he simply didn’t pan out as they liked.
No longer much of a highly regarded prospect, Ramirez converted to the bullpen in 2014 behind his blazing fastball that has the velocity to hit triple digits. He has jumped back and forth between Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Yankees for the past two seasons.
Ramirez has been very good in 2015 with the RailRiders (3-0, 2.90 ERA, 10 saves and a 10.1 strikeout per nine), but his command is still an issue walking 23 batters over just 49.2 innings.
He has not had a good go in the Majors over the past two seasons, posting an ERA of 7.62 and walking 11 batters over 13 innings. The Mariners however have had their own bullpen struggles this season, especially with former closer (or is he closer again this week?) Fernando Rodney. At the very least, he gives the Mariners some bullpen depth in the system. Ramirez can stay healthy and harness his above average and change, he could be a welcomed addition to the Mariners bullpen.