Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Marlins trade Hanley Ramirez to Dodgers

Ramirez is done as a Marlin
BY David Villavicencio

The news broke early Wednesday morning.

Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown reported the Marlins traded former batting champ Hanley Ramirez and left-hander Randy Choate to the Dodgers for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and minor league pitcher Scott McGough. The Marlins did not send any money to help cover what is left on Ramirez is contract. He is making $15 million this season and is due $31.5 million through 2014.

The fact the Marlins traded Ramirez does not come as a surprise as rumors have swirled in recent weeks of teams checking in on the three-time All Star.

Ramirez was the key talent the Marlins received in 2005 when they traded Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Red Sox. The next season, Ramirez won the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

From 2008-2010, Ramirez started at shortstop for the National League in the All-Star Game. In 2009, he hit a career-best .342 to win the batting title. Ramirez was viewed by many as one of the top talents in baseball but then things began to change.

One season after leading the league in hitting, Ramirez decided to change his entire batting stance, swing and approach. The new stance and approach did not have the same results as what had previously made him a star.

Ramirez hit .300 in 2010 but many suspect that he pulled himself out of games and eventually finished the season on the Disabled List to assure that he would not finish the season batting under .300.

Everyone remembers this incident
That same season, Ramirez had one of his most infamous moments. The shortstop lollygagged after a ball he let drop in shallow left field as D-backs runners rounded the bases and scored. Then manager Fredi Gonzalez immediately removed Ramirez from the game and an ugly back and forth ensued afterwards with Ramirez questioning authority and undermining Gonzalez because he never played in the Majors.

Things only got worse for Ramirez as he posted a .243 batting average in 2011. His previous career-low was .292 as a 22-year-old rookie in 2006. Combined with a lack of effort, bad attitude, enigmatic personality and selfish tendencies, Ramirez had turned into more of a problem than a franchise cornerstone.

This season, Ramirez shifted to third base to make room for Jose Reyes. Already a bigger shortstop, the move allowed Ramirez to bulk up and prepare to put up the power numbers many expect from a third baseman. It was also expected to help his defense as Ramirez's range had dimished in recent years thanks to his size.

Despite doing a decent job at his new position, Ramirez continued to struggle at the plate. He posted a .246 average in 92 games before being traded to Los Angeles. His final at-bat with the team ended in a called third strike to end Tuesday's loss to the Braves.

The return the Marlins received for Ramirez is underwhelming. The fact that Choate was also included in the deal makes the return even worse as Choate is one of the top lefty specialists in the league. He was essentially thrown in for nothing. Or maybe he is the reason McGough was included in the deal. Either way, the Marlins received a lot less than many would expect for what they gave up.

Nathan Eovaldi was the Dodgers' 2nd best prospect
Eovaldi was considered a solid pitching prospect in the Dodgers' system but he has not have very good results in limited Major League action. The 22-year-old is just 2-8 in the Majors but he has posted a solid 3.96 ERA over 20 big league appearances (16 starts).

Similar to Jacob Turner, who the Marlins acquired on Monday in a trade with the Tigers, Eovaldi is young (22) and has had success in the minors. Where they differ is that Turner is expected to develop into a front of the rotation pitcher while Eovaldi projects more as a middle of the rotation arm.

McGough is a former fifth-round pick in 2011. The hard-throwing right-hander was 3-5 with a 3.99 ERA over 47 1/3 innings for High-A Rancho Cucamonga this season. While McGough has the power arm that most look for in a late inning reliever, he was not considered a solid prospect by several outlets. McGough did not rank among the top 20 prospects in the Dodgers organization.

1 comment:

  1. C ya Hanley. I won't miss you giving a 50% effort every night. Wish we could have gotten rid of you sooner so that we could have received some value for you but still glad to see you go.