As a professional baseball player, there is always the inevitability of being traded to another team. Unlike major league players who usually read about their rumored or impeding trade on the Internet or in the newspapers, trades for minor league players generally hit them like a bolt of lightning.
For Cyclone Ricardo Cespedes, that bolt of lightning hit on the evening of July 28 on the road at Lowell, Massachusetts after coming off the field in a highly contested 3-2 loss to the Lowell Spinners.
After the Lowell game, the New York Mets announced that the team had acquired the Miami Marlins’ 2016 All Star relief pitcher A. J. Ramos for two minor league prospects – current Cyclone centerfielder Ricardo Cespedes and former 2016 Cyclone pitcher Merandy Gonzalez.
Since July 4, Cespedes had been on rehab assignment at Brooklyn in order to work his way back to Low-A Columbia. Without rumor or fanfare, the Mets quickly acquired a much-needed top end reliever, while the Marlins acquired a prospect that has the potential of becoming a five-tool player.
Ranked fifth among the 2016 Top 10 Hitters of the Mets minor league system, Cespedes hit .322 with 73 hits last season in the Appalachian Rookie League in Kingsport, Tennessee before being assigned to Low-A Columbia to begin this season.
On the pitching end of the deal, the Marlins received right-handed pitching prospect Merandy Gonzalez who recorded a 6-3 record with a 2.87 ERA last season with the Cyclones that was good for a 2016 Top Ten ranking in the New York Penn League.
This year, Gonzalez has thus far split his season, pitching for an 8-1 and 1.55 ERA record at Low-A Columbia and a 4-2 and 2.73 ERA record at High-A Port St. Lucie.
With very few fans not familiar with Cespedes during spring training this past March, the Bronx-born 19-year-old garnered a good deal of curiosity bearing the same surname as the New York Mets slugger (Yoenis Cespedes) on the back of his jersey.
When approached by fans in the minor league backfields at Port St. Lucie, Cespedes always good-naturedly answered the constant expected question by simply stating, “We’re not related; he’s Cuban and I’m Dominican!”
As far as trades go, last season’s Cyclone Manager Tom Gamboa said he always told players to look at a trade as “a positive.” Such was the case when Gamboa had to break the news on August 30 to Cyclone pitcher Erik Manoah who was just traded to the Anaheim Angels for the one of the Mets’ current relief pitchers, Fernando Salas.
Helping a young stunned player to focus and understand what happened, Gamboa would tell players, “A team scouted you and now wants you. This is a new start for you in a new organization that could lead to the major leagues. You’ve had to be doing something right.”