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Rays trade catcher Ronaldo Hernandez to Red Sox for 2 pitchers

Chris Mazza and Jeffrey Springs, who both have big-league experience, are headed to Tampa Bay.
Ronaldo Hernandez was ranked the Rays’ 11th-best prospect overall, per Baseball America.
Ronaldo Hernandez was ranked the Rays’ 11th-best prospect overall, per Baseball America. [ CHRIS URSO | Times ]
Published Feb. 17
Updated Feb. 17

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have traded Ronaldo Hernandez, who was their top catching prospect, to the Red Sox for two pitchers with big-league experience, Chris Mazza and lefty Jeffrey Springs.

The Rays also are getting an undisclosed amount of cash in the trade and are sending minor-league infielder Nick Sogard to the Red Sox.

Hernandez, 23, was ranked the Rays’ 11th-best prospect overall, per Baseball America. He has yet to play above the Class A level and, after a 2018 breakthrough at Class A Bowling Green, had a dropoff in 2019 when moving to advanced Class A Charlotte. He spent 2020 working out mostly at the Rays’ alternate site and on the taxi squad. He also was in the postseason roster pool and worked out with the team.

The acquisition of catching prospect Blake Hunt from San Diego in the Blake Snell trade may have been a factor in the Rays’ decision to move Hernandez.

Mazza, 31, was recently designated for assignment by the Red Sox. He reached the majors in 2019 with the Mets as a Rule 5 draft pick and then was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox and pitched for them last year. Over the two seasons, he was 2-3, 5.05 in 18 games, including six starts.

Springs, a 28-year-old lefty, also had been designated for assignment by Boston. He reached the majors in 2018 with Texas and was traded to Boston in January 2020. Over parts of three seasons in the majors, he is 5-4, 5.42 in 59 games.

Sogard was a 2019 12th-round pick by the Rays who played at short-season Class A Hudson Valley. He is cousins with current big-leaguer and former Ray Eric Sogard.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Rays shifted pitcher Jalen Beeks, one of three recovering from Tommy John surgery, to the 60-day injured list. Yonny Chirinos and Colin Poche are also headed to the 60-day list at some point.