This trade has the potential to effect the balance of power in the National League West, and of course, the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants have been hot since the All Star break, winning nine of 11 games. The Giants now hold a tenuous two-and-a-half game lead in the division, with the Dodgers due to visit AT&T Park this weekend for a crucial three-game series.
Like the Giants, the Dodgers have had a rough time scoring runs this season. While the Giants are 10th in the National League with 385 runs, the Dodgers rank 12th with 381. With the Giants superior pitching, you can understand why they lead the division.
But again, that margin is slim and there are still 65 games remaining for the Giants—64 for the Dodgers.
With less then a week until the trading deadline, and with the Dodgers getting Ramirez for just a fifth starter and a minor league pitcher, they have the ammunition to go out and pick up a front line starter, such as Ryan Dempster. Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times says that Dempster hasn't approved his trade to the Atlanta Braves because he really wants to play in LA with former teammate Ted Lilly.
If the Dodgers get Dempster or another star pitcher, the Giants will be in the unenviable position of having to do something to keep up with the Joneses.
The Giants needs are many—a first baseman with some pop (or a third baseman, with Pablo Sandoval moving to first), a closer and an outfielder.
The problem is that they don't have that much to trade. Losing Zack Wheeler in the Carlos Beltran deal last year at the deadline really watered down their organizational depth.
The Giants could go with a pat hand, but they risk the possibility of the Dodgers getting hot and passing them. And the problem with getting in as a wild card this year is that one game play-in format, which really makes everything a total crapshoot.
My question is, why didn't the Giants make a stronger play for Ramirez if he was going to come so cheap?
It was widely assumed that Ramirez would be expensive. Not only did the Dodgers not have to give up any of their top prospects, but the starter they parted with, Nathan Eovaldi, is no great shakes either. You would think the Giants could have offered a stronger package then that.
Now Brian Sabean almost HAS to make a trade, and that's never a good position to be in.
The one caveat is this: Ramirez is having his second off year in a row. He's hitting only .246 with a .752 OPS. He has 14 home runs and 48 RBI's. Last year he only played in 92 games, hit .243 and had 10 home runs.
So the Dodgers might be getting a guy that isn't as good as advertised.
Ramirez was considered—as late as 2010—as one of the best players in baseball. Since that time, he has suffered injuries and from behavioral issues. But the guy did have 111 homers in a four-year stretch from 2007 to 2010 and he's only 28 years old.
However, in the post PED era, you always have to wonder about someone's numbers when they drop off so drastically.
The Dodgers hope they are getting the 2007-2010 Ramirez and gambling that a change of scenery will do him wonders. The Giants hope for more of the same.