Should the Braves take a flyer on a recently departed Rays outfielder?

The recently DFA’d Rays outfielder makes an intriguing target for any team in the market

Los Angeles Angels v Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Angels v Tampa Bay Rays / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

One of the more surprising moves this season came from the Rays on June 7th when they DFA’d Harold Ramirez. Harold Ramirez isn’t one of the most prominent names in baseball, but he has a very good reputation for hitting.

In 2022, Ramirez hit for a .300 average with 8 home runs through 403 at-bats. Last year was even better. Ramirez logged a .313 average with 12 home runs in 400 at-bats. While he isn’t a significant power threat, Ramirez still presents a menacing presence at the plate with runners in scoring position posting a .313 average over his career.

Should the Braves trade for recently DFA'd Rays outfielder Harold Ramirez?

Unlike the prior two years, this year hasn’t been so good for Ramirez. Through 164 at-bats, he is hitting .268 with one homer. Both his slugging and on-base percentage have also plummeted. Even with these numbers diluting his value at the plate, he is still doing what he does best. Harold Ramirez is still effective against left-handers. The chart below shows the platoon splits in his batting average for the past few years.












Again, 2024's numbers aren't as good as the two previous years, but against left-handers, this is still very good. It is also reasonable to assume that his numbers will recover eventually. But with all this great offensive potential, why would the Rays DFA him?

While his bat may be a big upside, his glove has been a definite downside. Both his arm and his range leave a lot to be desired. His performance in all three outfield positions and first base has proven to be sub-par during his Rays tenure. This is why the Rays used him as a DH more often than not. But even at the plate, Ramirez has had trouble drawing walks this year. That is his true Achilles’ heel offensively.

How would Harold Ramirez fit on the Braves?

Ramirez’s bat would most definitely fit the Braves’ lineup. Atlanta's offense has all but disintegrated in recent days. However, the Braves need someone in the outfield. The DH spot is currently occupied by Marcell Ozuna who seems to be the one player consistently firing in the Braves’ offensive engine.

Besides the poor defense, if that isn’t a deal-breaker, there is also Ramirez’s contract. Ramirez, who will be turning 30 this year, is owed $3.8 million this year with a club option for 2025. However, this might not be much of a problem for long. As Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors wrote on the 7th: "Because of his $3.8MM salary, Ramirez is unlikely to be claimed on waivers if he gets there. It’s unlikely that any potential trade partner would take on the remainder of his contract, but the Rays could perhaps facilitate a swap if they’re willing to pay down some of the money still owed to Ramirez."

If Adams is right and teams do offer him a major league deal, the Braves may need to offer him one as well if they are going to acquire him. The good news for whatever team does decide to pick him up is that he will only be owed the league minimum and the Rays will need to pick up the tab on most of what they owe him. However, a major league deal for a poor defender may not be in the Braves’ best interest.

Since he wouldn’t see much time in the DH slot or on the field, Ramirez would likely be used by the Braves as a pinch hitter. If they can land him on a minor league deal with hopes of improving his defense, it might be worth a shot if his bat comes around. However, there is no guarantee they could improve his defense or bring his bat back to life some time this season.

In that case, this would be a waste of money. Should this be a trade scenario rather than a free agent signing, the Braves should steer clear altogether to avoid giving up minor league talent for a question mark.

Harold Ramirez is definitely an intriguing player who is worth a look, but while he has been a great hitter in recent years, he doesn’t check all the boxes for the Braves. The Braves should take a flyer but may be better off waiting and scouring the field for better options.

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