The Miami Marlins are continuing to sell off pieces at a rapid rate. The team traded Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Nathan Eovaldi and prospect Scott McGough, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
Update: Wednesday, July 25 at 11 a.m. ET
Miami has confirmed the deal on Twitter. The Marlins are now the proud owners of two young pitchers they hope will become big pieces of their pitching staff in the coming years.
The Miami Marlins have acquired RHPs Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough from the LA Dodgers for Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 25, 2012
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Ramirez was one of the best all-around offensive players in baseball as recently as two seasons ago. He's struggled to get back to that level, however. So far this season, the third baseman is hitting .246 with 14 home runs and a .752 OPS.
The Dodgers have faded after a red-hot start, which means they will need strong play down the stretch to make the playoffs. They hope Ramirez will become a major part of that push with numbers closer to the pace he set in 2009 (.954 OPS).
Los Angeles does have some reason for optimism.
Ramirez is only 28, giving him plenty of time to get things back on track, and a change of scenery certainly can't hurt. It shouldn't surprise anybody if he goes on a tear with his new team.
Choate is a veteran reliever who has spent more than a decade at the major league level. He has compiled a 2.49 ERA and 0.99 WHIP this season, making him a nice extra piece for the Dodgers bullpen.
On the flip side, the Marlins have clearly shifted their focus to a youth movement. They traded Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers earlier in the week for a package of young players, and they have done the same here.
Eovaldi, a 22-year-old right-hander, has had moderate success in the big leagues over the past two seasons. He has a sub-4.00 ERA in 20 appearances, including 16 starts. His 2-8 record over that span has a lot to do with a lack of offensive support.
He's still a work in progress with upside. Predominantly a fastball and slider pitcher, Eovaldi is still improving his changeup and curveball, which should come along with more experience.
McGough has made 35 appearances out of the bullpen in High-A ball this season. His ERA sits only a tick below 4.00, which is concerning because of the level, but he's striking out a batter per inning, and that stuff is probably what caught the eye of Miami scouts.
The winner of the trade will ultimately be determined by the play of Ramirez. If he can return to previous levels of production, or somewhere close, the Dodgers will be getting a major steal.