SAN DIEGO -- The Cubs completed their July 22 deal with the Rangers on Friday, claiming right-hander Neil Ramirez off waivers and assigning him to Double-A Tennessee.
When the Cubs dealt Matt Garza to the Rangers last month, it was in exchange for right-handed pitcher C.J. Edwards, right-handed pitcher Justin Grimm, third baseman Mike Olt and either one or two players to be named. Ramirez was the player the Cubs had targeted, but he had some shoulder issues.
Ramirez was ranked 14th on the Rangers' Top 20 prospects list at the time. The right-hander was initially a supplemental first-round pick in 2007 and developed slowly. He had a huge breakout season in 2011 that saw him pitch at three levels, ending in Triple-A. That momentum didn't continue in 2012, as Ramirez was demoted to Double-A.
Ramirez has spent all of this season at Double-A and was leading the league in strikeouts at the time of the trade, though he had been struggling lately after a very strong first half. Still only 24, Ramirez has an intriguing combination of stuff and command, and if he can rediscover consistency, he has what it takes to be a mid-rotation starter.
Ramirez can command his fastball well and throws a deceptive changeup. He throws both a slider and a curve, with the former the better of the two breaking pitches.
The other players acquired in the Garza deal include Olt, who was batting .121 (12-for-99) in 28 games at Triple-A Iowa, with two home runs, two doubles and four RBIs. Olt was batting .213 in 65 games with Triple-A Round Rock before he was traded. He had vision problems that caused him to miss all of May. Olt batted .288 with 28 home runs and 82 RBIs at Frisco in 2012.
Edwards has a 1.84 ERA in four games with Class A Daytona, striking out 20 over 14 2/3 innings. He was 8-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 18 games with Hickory before he was dealt.
Grimm is 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in six starts with Iowa, striking out 33 and walking 12 over 31 1/3 innings. He was 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in one start at Round Rock before the deal.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less