By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
With 2017's Rule 5 draft approaching, the Toronto Blue Jays outrighted outfielder Harold Ramirez and right-hander Chris Rowley off the team's 40-man roster on Monday.
Acquired alongside left-hander Francisco Liriano and catching prospect Reese McGuire in a deal that sent Drew Hutchison to the Pirates in August of 2016, Ramirez slashed .266/.320/.358 with six home runs and 53 RBI across 121 games with the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats this year.
Through six seasons of pro ball, the 22-year-old product of Cartagena, Columbia owns an OPS of .750 with 286 strikeouts against 119 walks in 459 games.
Rowley, 26, made his big league debut in August and pitched to an ERA of 4.67 across six appearances with the Blue Jays.
In the minors, the undrafted righty has posted an overall ERA of 2.67 with a WHIP of 1.097 and a combined K/9 percentage of 7.3 through 272.2 innings of work dating back to 2013.
Also finding his way off the Blue Jays roster is INF/OF Rob Refsnyder, who was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians on Monday.
Flipped from New York to Toronto in exchange for minor league first baseman Ryan McBroom on July 23, Refsnyder slashed just .196/.281/.496 with one extra-base hit over 51 at-bats with the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays 40-man roster now sits at 33, leaving seven open spots for the players the team chooses to protect from the Rule 5.
We can expect a few additional moves as MLB teams have until 8:00 p.m. E.T. on Monday to finalize their rosters in advance of next month's draft.
Prior to formally announcing their 40-man selections, Toronto acquired 27-year-old infielder Gift Ngoepe from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
After becoming the first African-born athlete to earn a major league call-up when his contract was purchased from triple-A Indianapolis last April, Ngoepe appeared in 28 games with the Pirates and slashed .222/.323/.296 over 63 plate appearances.
Widely viewed as a glove-first prospect, Ngoepe isn't going to be a defensive liability in the field and should provide Toronto with some depth behind Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis in 2018.
Additions to 40-man roster
Headlined by Danny Jansen, five players joined Ngoepe on Toronto's 40-man roster Monday night.
With the majority of his playing time coming at double-A New Hampshire in 2017, Jansen slashed a robust .323/.400/.404 through 104 games played across three levels. Along with exhibiting an improved eye at the dish, the 22-year-old catcher also recorded a career-high 37 extra-base hits in 368 at-bats.
The Blue Jays also protected the following prospects:
Rowdy Tellez (1B - .222/.295/.333 - 122G - AAA)
Reese McGuire (C - .295/.376/.483 - 45G - Rk/A+/AA)
Conner Greene (P - 5.29 - 92/83 SO/K - 132.2 IP - AA)
Thomas Pannone (P - 2.36 - 149/36 SO/K - 144.2 IP - A+/AA)
The Blue Jays' 40-man roster now sits at 39, leaving the team with space to make yet another addition via this years Rule 5 Draft on December 14.
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