The Tigers sent minor league outfield prospect Juan Ramirez to the Astros on Friday night, per a team announcement. The move completes the trade that also sent Justin Verlander to Houston in August. As it stands now, the Astros received Verlander (with a $16 million salary discount) and Ramirez for right-handed pitching prospect Franklin Perez, catcher Jake Rogers and outfielder Daz Cameron.
Ramirez, 18, received a $185,000 international signing bonus from the Tigers back in 2015. He’s moved through two seasons of rookie ball since then, and slashed .301/.385/.362 with eight extra-base hits and 10 RBI through 188 plate appearances in the Gulf Coast League this year. Despite his consistent on-base production, he has yet to record a home run at any pro ball level.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.