The Cleveland Indians love having a surplus of outfielders on the roster.
Another addition to the bunch was made this week when the team signed Harold Ramirez and put him on the 40-man roster.
He was claimed off waivers from the Miami Marlins and now puts his name in the race to get playing time with the Indians in 2021.
So who is Ramirez?
OF Harold Ramirez has been claimed off waivers from the @Marlins https://t.co/v0ahBHoO4J
to allow room RHP Jordan Humphreys was designated for assignment. Roster is still at 40.
— Tribeinsider (@tribeinsider) February 24, 2021
His story begins a decade ago when he was still a teenager.
A Long Path to Cleveland
Ramirez was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent back in 2011.
He is now 26 years old and the Indians will be his fourth professional organization.
After spending several years with the Pirates he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The outfield prospect failed to reach the majors and eventually signed as a free agent with the Marlins.
2019 finally saw Ramirez reach the big-league level and he posted solid numbers in Miami.
He slashed .276/.312/.416 in 119 games and finished the year with a 0.3 WAR.
WALK-OFF MARLINS. WALK-OFF HAROLD RAMIREZ.
GONNA PAINT THE TOWN REDS!!! pic.twitter.com/J324iwRNpz
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 30, 2019
The positives were quickly wiped away in 2020 when he appeared in a measly three games during the shortened season.
He now joins the Indians as a player who can play all three outfield spots.
Ramirez played 61 games in left field in 2019, followed by 55 games in right and 27 in center.
This type of versatility is going to help him as he fights for a spot in the crowded Indians outfield.
Plenty of Competition in 2021
The Indians currently have nine outfielders, including Ramirez, on the 40-man roster.
You can also add in the two non-roster invitees in Billy Hamilton and Ben Gamel.
From this total of 11, Franmil Reyes, Josh Naylor, and Jake Bauers are three players who may either slot in at DH or first base.
So even with a conservative estimate, there are eight players fighting for three spots.
Eddie Rosario is guaranteed one of those positions, with the likes of Oscar Mercado, Bradley Zimmer, Jordan Luplow, and Daniel Johnson all believing they deserve playing time as well.
In an ideal world the Indians would just have three solid outfield options ready to go for the season.
However, competition is not necessarily a bad thing.
The best options should emerge as Spring Training rolls along and it is possible someone like Ramirez shines and wins an everyday job over the familiar faces we have seen for the past few years.
Fans have already seen Tyler Naquin be let go and someone like Zimmer could be next if he can’t crack the Opening Day roster this year at the age of 28.
A team can only hold onto former top prospects for so long before it becomes time to move on and seek out the next crop of younger talent.
Ramirez is yet another player added to this outfield mix and his experience in Miami signals plenty of potential.
His goal now is to shine in what could be limited action given all the available options for Terry Francona to choose from.
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