One of the great aspects of the site is the ability for users to create and discuss topics without either Jay or I being here. So I don't have too many new points to bring up about today's trade. For those who are new, please read the Ground Rules to make your experience more pleasant.
Traded CL Bob Wickman to the Atlanta Braves for C Maximiliano Ramirez (A-)
First, a word on Wickman. He leaves the Indians the franchise leader in saves, and while he never had the best stuff in the league or even his own bullpen, he was somehow able to get outs and remain a closer for a long time. I'll certainly miss him, even if I won't miss his method of saving games.
One thing you can say about the Indians is that they can sure pick prospects with cool names. Maximiliano Ramirez is fairly new to catching (he converted from third base upon his arrival in the US two years ago), and his bat is his best attribute.
So while his ceiling is certainly high, he'll need some time to learn the craft, or he could be moved back to third base; at this stage in his development, there's plenty of time to figure his position out. If he weren't in a system with Brian McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, he probably wouldn't be available. Obviously the Indians got more value out of Eduardo Perez, but Ramirez is definitely a good prospect assuming he stays behind the plate. He'd be ranked about the same level as John Drennen if I did my top 20 prospects today.
There's been some comments along the lines of "why did the Indians get a catcher?" I've never been a fan of drafting players (or trading for lower-level players) who play a specific position because of depth (or lack thereof) on the major-league level. Even if Ramirez has a normal development, he probably won't get to the majors for another three years; a lot of things can happen bewteen now and then. And if Victor Martinez is still entrenched at catcher, they'll have a very valuable trade chip.
Some highlights from Shapiro's conferance call (accessible at indians.com):
- They had the opportunity to pick AA or AAA prospects, but chose to go with a lower-level player because of the higher ceiling.
- Wickman did not veto another trade.
- Fausto Carmona will get the first crack at closing, and other young relievers will get shots in setup roles.
- The Braves are assuming the rest of Wickman's salary.
- Ronnie Belliard won't play tomorrow, and beyond that, his status is uncertain.