Since the signing of Jose Reyes by the Miami Marlins, MLB trade rumors have erupted about the possibility of Hanley Ramirez moving to another team. While he had an off year in 2011, he is entering his prime years, and could be a huge pickup for a team.
When Ramirez is on, he is one of the best offensive shortstops in the league, and finding high quality offense at that position is hard to find. Naturally, teams with a gaping hole at the shortstop position will be most interested in acquiring him.
Which team is most likely to end up with Ramirez? All 30 teams are ranked by the chance they have at getting Ramirez.
The Yankees already have two Hall of Fame-quality shortstops in Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, with one occupying third base. There's nowhere for them to put Hanley Ramirez at all even if they did want him. No chance at all this happens.
Are the Rockies going to get rid of Troy Tulowitzki to bring in Hanley Ramirez? Of course not. With Tulowitzki's contract, it's impossible—he's the cornerstone of the team. No chance that Hanley Ramirez steps in.
The Indians' best player last year was Asdrubal Cabrera, and his leadership was what kept the team in the .500 range at season's end. They aren't going to bring in Hanley Ramirez. There's no chance it happens since the Indians probably couldn't afford him anyway, even in a straight-up deal.
The Phillies just re-signed Jimmy Rollins to a three-year deal. They know what he can do, and they aren't going to give that up for a question mark in Hanley Ramirez. No chance a deal takes place here.
While the infield was arguably the team's weak spot, if it had one, and the Cardinals just signed Rafael Furcal to a multi-year deal, so there's no way that they cancel that deal out already. Zero chance this happens, since if they wanted him they would have already gotten him.
Elvis Andrus has established himself as a rising star in Texas, and the 23-year old will be great in Texas for years to come. There's no chance the Rangers trade for Hanley since they definitely like what they have in Andrus.
The Cubs have a lot of holes to fill in their lineup, but shortstop is not one of them. Like the Rangers, they have a rising star at shortstop in Starlin Castro. There's no chance that any team gets rid of a 21-year-old hitting .300 in the majors, especially the Cubs.
It looks like Hanley Ramirez is not going to end up in Chicago. The White Sox are fine with Alexei Ramirez, whose contract runs through 2016. There's no chance that they mess around with that.
The Pirates are happy with their acquisition of Clint Barmes, an underrated defensive specialist, and would likely not be able to afford Hanley's price tag on the trade market anyway. There's no chance on this, and it would be around zero even if they didn't sign Barmes.
Rounding out the 10 teams without any chance of acquiring Hanley Ramirez are the Milwaukee Brewers. Yes, shortstop was their weakness in the lineup, but they solved that by signing Alex Gonzalez. He's not flashy, but he gets the job done, and the Brewers aren't going to mess with a position they just fixed.
The Orioles have J.J. Hardy at shortstop, who had a career year offensively. His contract is rather modest given his numbers this year, so he could be expendable for the Orioles, who could take a risk for Hanley.
That being said, both players are natural shortstops, and a Ramirez-Hardy straight-up trade makes no sense. It would have to be a three-team deal for it to work, which I don't see happening.
Odds: 1,000 to 1
The New York Mets have a glaring hole in shortstop now that Jose Reyes is gone. However, he is the one the Marlins signed. Would the Mets really just grab their shortstop in return in consolation? I can't see the Mets doing that at all, even if it is a nice fit.
Odds: 800 to 1
Current shortstop Jason Bartlett is one of the few players the Padres have actually spent money on. While Ramirez would be a great fit in San Diego, since he can provide some much needed offense, the Padres likely don't have the funds, and already made one big trade this offseason.
Odds: 750 to 1
The Angels already made two huge free-agent acquisitions in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. While Erick Aybar is perhaps expendable, he had a career year last year and only seems to be getting better, so he would be very difficult to part with.
Odds: 700 to 1
Jhonny Peralta is one of the better offensive shortstops in the game, and can provide a lot of the same power Hanley Ramirez could in the lineup.
While the Tigers could move him to third and bring in Hanley Ramirez, they likely would not be able to give up enough in a trade. Still, some sources are considering this an option, even though I think there are too many pieces to shift for it to realistically happen.
Odds: 650 to 1
The Oakland Athletics seem more likely to have a fire sale than sign a big-name free agent. They also have a shortstop in Cliff Pennington, though he is expendable. If they are planning to rebuild, then Hanley could be a piece to build the lineup around.
Odds: 600 to 1
Adding Hanley Ramirez at shortstop to what is already a good small-ball lineup, could make the Royals a contender in the AL Central. However, they need to address pitching first and foremost, and Alcides Escobar has been plenty serviceable at shortstop for them.
Odds: 500 to 1
Yunel Escobar has turned into one of the more underrated shortstops in the game, and had a good year for the Blue Jays this past season. As a result, one would think they would keep him in Toronto.
That being said, the Blue Jays just feel like a team that would take on such a risk, even though it makes no sense with the team they're trying to build.
Odds: 300 to 1
The Dodgers are tough to figure out. Adding Hanley Ramirez alongside Matt Kemp would make for a formidable lineup. That being said, rookie Dee Gordon showed promise in his first season, and letting him play every day makes sense.
The Dodgers need to get younger; bringing in Hanley would only push them in the wrong direction, as they would lose their easily youngest everyday player for 2012.
Odds: 200 to 1
The Nationals always have to be in the top 10-12 of any trade-rumor rankings, just because they are the type of team that will make a stab at a good player, even if it may not be a need.
Ian Desmond is their everyday shortstop, but I don't find him to be a high-quality player at that spot. The Nationals seem fine with him, though I will not be surprised if they throw out a feeler or two just to test the market.
Odds: 100 to 1
The Arizona Diamondbacks going after Hanley Ramirez will depend on how confident they are about Stephen Drew after missing half of 2011. He has a good offensive bat when he's on, though it's not quite as good as Hanley's.
Would the Diamondbacks be willing to trade a good amount to end up with a better version of Stephen Drew? That seems quite unlikely.
Odds: 75 to 1
The Astros lost Clint Barmes to free agency, so they don't have an everyday shortstop currently. They could also feasibly trade an aging star to Miami for Ramirez, since they would want to cut down on their payroll.
As a small market, it's tough to see the Astros trying this, but this is the first team on the list that I think could realistically move enough around; since Miami wants to win now, Houston is actually a great trading partner as they go into full rebuilding mode. After all, Hanley could help bring in attendance.
Odds: 70 to 1
The Seattle Mariners are an interesting case. They already have one of the best defensive shortstops in Brendan Ryan, but they badly need an offensive bat to get things going. Hanley Ramirez would definitely offer that.
As much as the Mariners need offense, there are other positions that they can scrap, and shortstop is a place you want great defense. It makes sense on paper, and the Mariners could take the risk, but it's not likely.
Odds: 60 to 1
On paper, this makes perfect sense. The Braves have a lot of young talent and might be able to part with some, they lost Alex Gonzalez to free agency and they have a glaring hole at shortstop as a result.
That being said, the fact that they are a division rival of the Marlins greatly reduces their chances of acquiring him.
Odds: 55 to 1
Had the Reds not given up most of their high-end prospects for Mat Latos, they may have made the top three. Paul Janish has been unable to be an everyday shortstop, and adding Hanley Ramirez would give them one of the best hitting infields in baseball.
They had pieces that the Marlins could use, and they in fact may still have some; it would just be a lot tougher to make it work now. They will likely stick with Zack Cozart at shortstop for 2012.
Odds: 50 to 1 (pre-Latos trade, 10 to 1)
The Minnesota Twins are likely to be in rebuilding mode sooner rather than later, and having an everyday shortstop in his prime would help big time. Plus, with the glaring exception of this past season, Ramirez has been very durable.
Two things could be issues, however. First, they have Tsuyoshi Nishioka set up at shortstop, though he is expendable. Second, they would have to give up a big player such as Francisco Liriano to make the deal work. If they start doing that, it could be fire sale time.
Odds: 20 to 1
The San Francisco Giants are in desperate need of a quality shortstop. Brandon Crawford was given the opportunity at shortstop this past season and did not do all that well, so Ramirez would be a big improvement.
Even without Jonathan Sanchez, they still have a good number of young arms they could trade away if they wanted Ramirez bad enough. Yes, they may have to give up too much pitching, but their lineup needs that offensive spark big time.
Odds: 5 to 1
The Tampa Bay Rays definitely have a hole in shortstop, as Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez have shown they can't be everyday shortstops. They also have enough expendable starters that a move could be made.
Trading Hanley Ramirez for Wade Davis and a couple other high-level prospects could definitely be a trade that benefits both sides. I don't see much in the way of Rays rumors, but I would be shocked if they aren't looking at him, even if it's just behind the scenes.
Odds: 3 to 1
The Boston Red Sox seem very interested in Hanley Ramirez, and it's easy to see why. They have Marco Scutaro signed for another year, but he's expendable as the infield's weak link.
The tough part would be determining who the Marlins would get. Trading for someone like Kevin Youkilis or Carl Crawford straight up could be offered, though I can't see the Red Sox accepting that. The two sides would go back and forth for a while, but a trade between those two could work out great.
Odds: 2 to 1
When it's all said and done, despite Hanley Ramirez's dissatisfaction with moving to third base, I think that's what he ends up doing. It worked out fine for Alex Rodriguez, and if he wants to be part of a team that would win a World Series ring, now's his chance.
Besides, the Boston Red Sox already gave up on him once, trading him to Florida back in 2005.
Odds: 1.2 to 1