The Marlins had a busy offseason, adding a bevy of big-name free agents to usher in a new era with the opening of their new stadium.
The most talked about of those signings was the addition of shortstop Jose Reyes, a move that no doubt improved the team but forced incumbent shortstop and face of the franchise, Hanley Ramirez, to third base.
Despite early unhappiness with the position change, Ramirez eventually accepted the move, and the Marlins entered the season as one of the favorites to enjoy a big turnaround.
However, they have struggled to put things together consistently and entered play today with a 33-36 record, eight games behind the Nationals in the NL East.
An ESPN report earlier today by Jason Churchill, discussed whether or not Ramirez could be put on the market at the deadline.
He is due a combined $31.5 million in 2013 and 2014, which makes him a commitment for anyone who acquires him. Also, he is not off to a particularly great start this season with a .255 BA, 11 HR, 37 RBI line entering play today.
Nonetheless, there would likely be a number of teams interested in the the 28-year-old infielder if he were made available. Here's a look at some of the most likely contenders for his services.
The Tigers have been a big disappointment so far this season, but they still have the pieces to make a serious playoff run. Rounding out their pitching staff is priority No. 1, and they have a solid shortstop in Jhonny Peralta, but adding another bat would certainly help things.
The Pirates have long been searching for a franchise shortstop, and their signing of Clint Barmes to a two-year deal this offseason has backfired (.201 BA). They certainly have the farm system to build a solid package, and they could pull off the surprise move if they stay in contention.
Erick Aybar enjoyed a breakout season last year, hitting .279 BA, 10 HR, 59 RBI, 30 SB and winning the Gold Glove. That earned him a five-year, $40.08 million extension this winter, but he has struggled to a .245 average this season, and the Angels could look to upgrade.
Originally a member of the Red Sox organization, Ramirez joined the Marlins in the deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. Mike Aviles (.265 BA, 9 HR, 41 RBI) has been solid, but Ramirez would mark an upgrade and could be the spark the Red Sox need in the tough AL East.
Most expect the Dodgers to make a splash at the deadline given their new ownership situation, and they could stand to add another big-time bat. Dee Gordon has shortstop locked up for the time being, but third base is a glaring hole with Juan Uribe (.234) consistently struggling.
The revolving door of light-hitting utility men continues for the Giants, as Brandon Crawford (.234 BA, .613 OPS, 12 errors) has done little to inspire confidence that he is the answer moving forward. They could certainly stand to add another power bat, and Ramirez would solve their shortstop problem long-term.
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