Miami Marlins Should Exploit Red Sox Desire to Trade for Hanley Ramirez

James Bondman@@james_bondmanCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - APRIL 21:  Hanley Ramirez #2 of the Florida Marlins laughs as he jogs off the field during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Sun Life Stadium on April 21, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It's been two weeks since the Marlins inked free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes to a six-year, $106 million deal (the largest team contract in history), and the soap opera revolving around Hanley Ramirez still continues. 

According to the Miami Herald, the Marlins are still waiting for Ramirez to embrace his move to third base, or at the least embrace it publicly.  

That hasn't happened yet. Instead, Ramirez has sent cryptic tweets since the moves, saying, "Everybody it's waiting to see what's gonna happen with me or what I gonna do right?...What I am gonna do is work hard and get ready for next season because that is the only thing I can control I love y'all!!!!"  

And what's more, for what it's worth, Reyes and Ramirez are supposedly the best of friends. According to CBSSports, ever since Reyes signed, he hasn't heard from Ramirez. There was no phone call, text message or Christmas card from his pal and fellow Dominican. 

I know it's the offseason, but the fact that you don't embrace the move right away and don't call a "dear friend" tells you all you need to know. 

If Ramirez won't accept the move, there is only one thing you have to do: trade him. And for the Marlins, it could be the move that actually makes the team better. 

I mentioned earlier that dealing Hanley Ramirez could pave the way for a Prince Fielder signing. You have to think Jeffrey Loria, in that situation, would want to make the fans worry about a new superstar and forget the one who wouldn't make a team sacrifice.

But digging deeper into the situation, the trade value is unfortunately low for Ramirez. But, it isn't like he went to jail or abused drugs. Ramirez can still fetch a solid return if you deal him to the right team, and the one who still drools for him is the Red Sox

Considering the need for starting pitching, Marlins may be tempted to deal Hanley if it nets them a frontline starter.
Considering the need for starting pitching, Marlins may be tempted to deal Hanley if it nets them a frontline starter.J. Meric/Getty Images

In recent days, general manager Ben Cherington made contact with the Marlins about the team's willingness to deal Ramirez, according to the Boston Globe via Sporting News

It's no secret the Red Sox have contacted the Marlins over the years about Ramirez, so this hardly comes as a surprise, as the team has a hole at the position (currently held by stop-gap Marco Scutaro). 

If the Red Sox want Ramirez, the solution is simple. Deal him back to the organization that groomed him, and get back a package that includes starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, third baseman Kevin Youkilis and a prospect (e.g., outfielder Brandon Jacobs or shortstop Xander Bogaerts). 

Considering Boston's need for starting pitching, you add Ricky Nolasco to the deal and rid the team of his slightly inflated contract. 

In the end, this is how it would look like financially:

Red Sox get: shortstop Hanley Ramirez (three years, $46.5 million left) and pitcher Ricky Nolasco (two years, $20.5 million left).

Marlins get: pitcher Clay Buchholz (four years, $28.7 million left w/ two team options worth $26.5 million) and corner infielder Kevin Youkilis (one year, $12 million w/ $13 million team option) and a prospect. 

To sum it all up, the Marlins save $8.5 million in 2012 and would free up more space to sign Prince Fielder or Cuban phenom Yoenis Cespedes. 

In the end, the Marlins get the complementary ace they crave in acquiring Clay Buchholz (locked long-term) to plug in either 2 or 3 in the rotation that includes Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Anibal Sanchez. The Marlins get a so-called "Greek God of Walks" in Youkilis, who would easily bat high in the order for his on-base ability.

The Red Sox get their star that would replace Big Papi when he leaves the team in the near future and a guy who would keep their lineup strong against the Yankees. They would also get Ricky Nolasco, who, while his numbers are not All-Star worthy, has very solid xFIP and FIP numbers and was hurt by a string of isolated poor outings. 

I want Ramirez to embrace the change, but if he doesn't want to, then this is what the Marlins need to do for their own good. 

Now, I know the Rangers' Michael Young situation last offseason came and was forgotten when spring training passed by, but that was one thing. Young had made countless sacrifices beforehand and was a veteran player. Ramirez is being faced with the prospect of doing it the first time, and he doesn't seem to want to budge. 

The Marlins would be better off rounding off their rotation of Johnson, Buehrle, Buchholz, Sanchez by possibly trading for Ozzie's guy, Carlos Zambrano, in hopes that he will redeem himself.

A lineup that begins with Reyes and continues with Bonifacio, Youkilis, Fielder, Stanton, Morrison, Buck and Infante. Now that would be interesting to say the least. 

But, will this happen? Unlikely, but "unlikely" was the word that described the Marlins being able to land the major free agents this offseason. So, it's to be determined whether the Marlins make this move to ultimately benefit the team. 


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