MLB Trade Rumors: Could Florida Marlins Trade Hanley Ramirez?
It sounds insane. You recoil at the thought of it. In all likelihood, it's not going to happen.
But the idea of trading Hanley Ramirez might not be as crazy as you think.
Ramirez, who has been the consensus No. 2 overall pick in fantasy drafts for years, entered this season with a reputation as one of the best players and arguably the single best shortstop in baseball.
Entering the season, he had a career .313/.385/.520 slashline with 124 homers and 196 steals across five full seasons. With 29.1 WAR by age 27—including 15 in 2008-9 alone—he looked to be on a certain path for Cooperstown.
Last year was a bit of a hiccough for Ramirez' stat sheet. Excluding his 2006 season, at age 26 he set career lows in average (.300), OBP (.378), slugging percentage (.475), homers (21), runs (92), and WAR (4.6). It's hard to complain about those numbers—especially for a shortstop—but it wasn't on par with his usual production.
This year, though, something has changed. He's hitting just .236/.324/.358 while playing his usual subpar defense and is on pace for just 13 homers, 58 RBI, 80 runs, 26 steals, and 1.5 WAR.
Part of the problem might be bad luck—his .270 BABIP is 77 points below his pre-season career mark—but given his declining power numbers and line drive rates, it's no surprise that to see his hit rate falling too.
So could the Marlins, who are 15.5 games back in the NL East, trade Han-Ram? Given that his value is at an all-time low, it seems unlikely that he'll be dealt before the deadline. The only way I could see a deal happening is if the Marlins think Ramirez is truly broken and the other team does not.
Long-term, though, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him dealt in the next year or two. Many agree that Ramirez isn't well suited to shortstop (he has a -9.2 career UZR/150). FanGraphs' Joe Pawlikowski sees an eventual move as another reason Han-Ram will be dealt eventually:
They have an up and comer in Matt Dominguez slated for third base, and then have young budding stars Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton in the corner outfield positions. Ramirez’s bat, at least at its peak, will play anywhere, so finding a team with a need at either third base or left field shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Buster Olney thinks Ramirez would net a return of only around "50-60 cents on the dollar" right now, so a deal this season, while not impossible, seems unlikely. Long-term, though, Han-Ram will likely be suiting up for someone else before his contract expires in 2014.
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