Marlins trading Hanley Ramirez is completely ridiculous

Buster Olney started a lot of discussion yesterday when mentioning the possibility of the Marlins trading Hanley Ramirez in light of his recent performance and his history of “clubhouse problems,” true or implied. It started when Olney suggested that there were people in the Marlins organization interested in trading him, and continued with the idea that Ramirez was not a leader in the clubhouse and that his future position would be in doubt.

Let me go ahead and say this flat out before the discussion continues:

The Marlins will not trade Hanley Ramirez this season or in this offseason.

To do so would require an act of desperation or stupidity from this staff, and that is something president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest simply would not allow. The front office has done its share of stupid things before, in particular the horrific Emilio BonifacioJosh Willingham swap that is now entirely dependent on Jake Smolinski panning out at all, but never could I imagine them doing something as stupid as trading Ramirez at this point. There are many obvious reasons as to why a deal at this point would be so ridiculous that even the cost-conscious Marlins would refuse to do such a thing.

The basics of trading players

Say what you will about the penny-pinching regime that the Marlins have run in the past, but the front office has always known how to pull off an appropriate trade. In every trade of a Marlins star, the Marlins have traded at something of a high point in that player’s career. The Fish dealt Miguel Cabrera after his third straight season with 5.0 or more (FanGraphs) Wins Above Replacement (fWAR); Baseball-Reference WAR (rWAR) points to Cabrera’s defense being more of a problem in 2007 than fWAR saw. The team’s 2005 fire sale saw the jettison of Josh Beckett coming off of his highest seasonal innings total of his career at the time along with his best fWAR (second best rWAR). The team also dealt Carlos Delgado after his best offensive season since 2000 and a season in which his WAR totals were only hurt by his tremendously bad defense. Derrek Lee was dealt after his 2003 season, which was the best of his career up until that point, though he had yet to fulfill his true potential. The only player of major importance to the Marlins since 2002 that the team dealt at his lowest point was Mike Lowell, who was traded after his worst career season and went on to have four solid seasons with the Boston Red Sox.

The point here is that the Marlins rarely make a deal knowing that they will get less than appropriate value for their player. The Fish were forced by monetary reasons to deal Lowell at his lowest, but outside of that the Marlins have traded their best players at their most valuable every time. It should be obvious that Ramirez is currently not even close to his maximum value and that making a deal involving him right now will likely receive half of the value he would be expected to receive. Ramirez is one of the few players in baseball who, before this season, could fetch a golden return in terms of top prospects and young, major league ready players. At this point, with such an atrocious start under his belt, there could be no way he could achieve that sort of return, even if it is likely that he significantly better than he is currently showing now.

The new stadium and fan expectations

Yes, the new stadium does matter to the Marlins ownership, even if the ownership is crooked as a whole. Jeffrey Loria and company do want to see an improvement in attendance with the new stadium’s opening, even if their true intention is to leech more money out of the county and community. After all, attendance can only yield more money, and critics of Loria, David Samson, and the other parties involved in the Marlins’ ownership know that the dollar is the primary concern of the organization.

No matter how much some vocal Marlins fans seem to hateM. Ramirez for his supposed work ethic issues, they would be infinitely more upset to watch him play well for another team. The Marlins and their fans appreciate performance over a positive attitude every time; you can bet there would be no discussion of trading Ramirez if he were hitting .340/.410/.520 instead of .211/.304/.301. Ramirez is still viewed as the centerpiece of the franchise, and nothing would kill the desire to watch a team than trading a team’s centerpiece away for what would likely end up being scraps. Ultimately, it does not matter that Ramirez is a primadonna or doesn’t work hard, things about which we have no idea as fans. What fans ultimately want is good players for their teams, and a trade of Ramirez at this point would not likely yield this sort of value. And when fans aren’t happy, they aren’t watching, and as it has been shown for quite a while now, fans of the Marlins very easily display their disinterest in their team via attendance.

Yes, the Marlins have other “franchise players” right now. Yes, they could market the hell out of Mike Stanton, Josh Johnson, Logan Morrison, and Gaby Sanchez. But none of those players mean as much to the franchise as Ramirez, in my opinion. Ramirez plays a glamour position and, prior to this season, was a premier hitter. You cannot replace that, just like you cannot replace a Miguel Cabrera in the fans’ eyes. Cabrera, if you recall, had just as bad an attitude issue as Hanley, and his was far more visible in terms of his weight and conditioning. Fans weren’t happy about that, but they were more unhappy when he was dealt. Going into the new stadium with an unhappy fanbase cannot be a smart move.

Finances expanding?

Joe Pawlikowski mentioned at FanGraphs yesterday that it seemed inevitable that Ramirez would be dealt primarily because of the financial ramifications of his contract. Perhaps so, but the 2011 offseason and 2012 season was the least likely time for this to happen. The Marlins are expected to expand payroll to possibly $70M next season, which means the team can more than afford to maintain the right set of players and replace the other ones that do not fit into the equation. Yes, that may mean cutting marginal players heading into arbitration, but it also means allocating money properly to players who will be a part of the future of the organization, including Ramirez. He is set to make $15-16M per season in each of the next three seasons, which are the most expensive parts of the contract.

If Ramirez had shown a history of these problems from this season or were heading into his second-to-last or last season of this contract, it would be understandable. But without any prior history of the majority of these problems, and with the team heading into a situation which can afford them payroll expansion, it would be unlikely that the Marlins would choose now to make a deal. The team can still afford the contract for another season or two given the expanding payroll, meaning the financial reasons for the trade are not as strong as years ago.

Position problem?

There is one thing with which both the Marlins and any potential suitors need to concern themselves. Ramirez has bulked up a lot since he first arrived in the majors. Ramirez had picked up almost 40 pounds of muscle since he initially came up (he was at a relatively svelte 200 pounds when he arrived in 2006), and that may cause not only health issues but a possible problem with his position. He’s already been considered a poor shortstop in the past, thanks in part to that fluky awful 2007 season that almost had to include some semblance of bad luck. With an increased girth, he may no longer have the flexibility and athleticism to manage shortstop, and the Fish should consider a possible position change in the future for him.

Overview

This isn’t the time to discuss this issue. The Marlins are still in the midst of an epic slump, and Ramirez is also in a personal tailspin. He should be focused on improving whatever needs assistance in his game, not on his future in a Marlins uniform. For their part, the organization has expressed their desire to hold onto him, both through the contract and their words, so right now the best course of action would be to allow Ramirez to rebuild value and earn himself his superstar status once again. There may yet be a time to trade him, but in my view, it will not be until the end of next season.

Topics: Hanley Ramirez, Jeffrey Loria, Larry Beinfest, Miami Marlins

Want more from Marlin Maniac?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • http://nothingxs.net nothingxs

    Why don’t they just put Hanley on a cutting regimen so that he can lose some of all the extra girth he’s put on? We need a shortstop, and he apparently needs to come back down to a lighter weight to get his swing back.

    • Michael Jong

      nothingxs,

      We’re not certain his extra weight is affecting his swing, though it definitely could be a problem. I think the Marlins aren’t sure exactly what’s going on with him, but I think losing weight couldn’t hurt his chances. It would be a decent idea.

  • Pingback: Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Kemp, Hanley, Francis, Soto | Forex News

  • http://www.thajackal.com Angel Espino

    To be honest I think trading Hanley is the right move the guy seems like he doesn’t care out there, and honestly he’s lost the backing of most fans who now have turned into hating him, and this guys defense has always been lack luster to start with but with him NOT hitting it makes it worse… I think he’s off the juice which is why he’s not hitting anymore. I wouldn’t put that past him. The dude is a cancer in the club house, and is a cancer on the field, and as for this article saying we shouldn’t trade him because it wont get us anything in return. Well last time I checked this front office sucks at making trades. How many guys worked out from the Cabrera deal?? None! They all sucked, and the hopper who stinks is the only one we got left. So I don’t think making a bad trade will be anything new at this point with this front office, and at this point ANYTHING we get for Hanley will be an upgrade. We have 3 other short stops in our system who can take over, and will hit better then him, and field better then him.

    Also the Uggla move sucked, and the players we got back suck, and the players we signed this off season like John Buck also stinks. The front office made all the wrong moves this off season, and have made all the wrong moves since trading Cabrera for peanuts.

    The only right move they should have done then, and didn’t is trade Hanley for pitching. The Redsox wanted him back they should have asked for pitching prospects which we need badly.

    Hanley is a joke, and will only get fatter, and worse as the years go… Get rid of him now while he has any value left.

    Besides its become clear the guy just is lazy, and doesn’t give a crap about winning.

    • Michael Jong

      Angel,

      First of all, welcome to Marlin Maniac!

      I have to respectfully disagree with most of your points. Can we clearly tell that Ramirez is no longer a good major league hitter? A lot of players have slumped poorly for two or three months and gotten away with it; part of the problem is that we have seen Hanley struggle from the start of this season. My emphasis is that the team simply cannot give up one of its best players like that without allowing him to build value. Contrary to your thinking, the Marlins do not have three shortstops in the minor leagues ready to pick up the slack; the best middle infield prospect the team has is Ozzie Martinez, and to date he has only had one good offensive season. He is a significantly better defender than Hanley, but I’d imagine he would be overwhelmed right now in the majors. For example, he is currently hitting .245/.281/.353 in 148 Triple-A PA.

      As for your point regarding the front office’s recent deals, I’m not sure what you mean. Surely you cannot believe that receiving ANYTHING in return for Ramirez is of value. He is still likely one of the best players in baseball, “clubhouse cancer” or not, but his value is at its lowest and the Marlins would be foolish to take a deal at this point. How would the team be hurt by allowing Ramirez to regress and play better before considering a trade at all? It’s almost impossible for him to play any worse than he has right now, especially since most of his peripherals (minus his power) have been stable.

      Have you really advocated that the Marlins deal Ramirez in the past? Last season, in his worst year since his rookie year, he was still among the top 30 players in baseball. Two years ago, he was a runner-up for the NL MVP. Were you calling for his trade then? It seems difficult to imagine the Marlins wanting to trade one of the best players in franchise history after three months of slumping.

      • http://www.thajackal.com Angel Espino

        You’re entitled to your opinion but I’m also entitled to mines, and to be honest I’ve seen Hanley dogging it out there since middle of last year, and he’s got worse since. Remember last season he missed the final 2 weeks with a fake injury just so he would finish with a .300 avg because he was in a deep slump, and would have surly ended up with an avg well under .300 had he played the final 2 weeks.

        I think they should wait until the all star break, and get some feelers out for him if he’s hitting better by then there will be offers made.

        Considering this team sucks at making trades no matter how much value the player got we never get much in return. Remember the Cabrera deal? We got the hopper left? He stinks.

        And who we got that’s really replacing Uggla? Infante? He can’t hit, and Joe Buck stinks.

        So I say trade, Buck, Infante, and Ramirez for pitching. We need pitching.

        We can play Bonifacio at 2b, and Ozzie Martinez at SS. When Chris returns move him to 2b, and split time at SS with Boni, and Ozzie.

        Problem solved, and they just slashed payroll big time which now can mean that next year when we hit the new part we could actually bring in some real free agents who can help us win.

        Hanley Ramirez, Joe Buck, and Omar Infante are never going to help us win.

        They can’t even beat Seattle… Those guys stink.

        The only one’s who should have a safe job right now is Michael Stanton, Lomo, Gaby, and Anibal Sanchez. Everyone else is interchangeable, and should be moved if they aren’t performing.

        Hanley has had how many problems on this team already with other players? And he’s known to coast by, and not put 100% effort.

        Besides his defense isn’t all that stellar to start with.

        • Michael Jong

          Angel,

          If what you say about the Marlins and their ability to make beneficial or even trades is true, than I’d rather have Ramirez come back to full health and ability then let the team take back 60 cents to a dollar or worse. If you think the front office is not going to get a profitable deal for a great player who is struggling right now, then I’ll take my chances on Ramirez regressing back to his expected level of play rather than lose a possible trade. And the solution to the vacant shortstop position cannot be Bonifacio and Ozzie Martinez. Neither player is good enough now (or in the case of Bonifacio, likely ever) to replace the likely production of Hanley Ramirez, even after considering Ramirez’s admittedly poor defense.

          Just a quick aside regarding what you considered Ramirez’s “fake” injury that he fabricated as a result of a supposed slump.

          Ramirez, 2011 total: .300/.378/.475
          Ramirez, September: .313/.413/.481
          Ramirez, September 10th through season end: .300/.344/.333

          If he was struggling that much, I certainly didn’t see it based on his numbers. Isn’t it entirely possible that he just got hurt? Before 2010, he’s lost a total of about 50 PA due to bumps and bruises and played more than 150 games each year. Why he can’t ever be afforded a break?

          So I’ll have to disagree with you, though I appreciate and welcome your opinion on the blog.

  • Pingback: Marlins Trade Deadline Speculation | Fightin Marlins

  • Pingback: Picks of the Pen « Call to the Pen | An Unofficial Major League Baseball blog

  • Pingback: The Florida Marlins trading deadline primer « Marlin Maniac | A Florida Marlins Blog