Marlins fans received a bit of welcome news yesterday, amidst what has been a miraculously slow time for baseball news. Speaking with the Associated Press in his native Dominican Republic, Hanley Ramirez for the first time indicated that he would oblige if asked to make the switch from shortstop to third base. At the Winter Meetings, the Marlins signed free agent shortstop Jose Reyes to a six year, $106 million deal.
While subdued, Ramirez’s statements are the first time that the one time batting champion has shown a willingness to switch positions. According to the Palm Beach Post, and translated from spanish, Ramirez said “We will see what’s going to happen with the position switch and everything else. If it’s third base, OK. Wherever they put me to win, I will do so.”
Ramirez also mentioned that he had discussed the matter with new manager Ozzie Guillen, and had agreed that they “want to win with the Marlins.” If in fact Guillen’s conversations with Ramirez played a role in alleviating his frustrations over the position change, it could be a sign of good things to come in one vitally important manager-player relationship. Ramirez’s troubled relationship with ex-skipper Fredi Gonzalez, especially after the shortstop was benched following a lazy trot after a booted ball, is believed to have played a part in the manager’s departure.
Another quote demonstrates that Ramirez is on good terms with his new teammate Jose Reyes. “I respect him very much. He is a great person,” said Ramirez. If they both stay healthy, the combination of Ramirez and Reyes would certainly make the strongest left side of the infield in the game.
With little else going on in the baseball world, we can at least take a little bit of satisfaction from the fact that Ramirez, as many purported, is no longer up in arms and on the verge of requesting a trade.