The dilemma facing the Miami Marlins the day that management decided to pursue Jose Reyes was how would Hanley Ramirez, Marlins SS since 2006 react? At the outset it seemed as though Hanley was being Hanley. It was a passive-aggressive posture for a long time before he finally came out and in a pseudo-warm fashion exclaimed that he wanted to win and switching to 3B would be no problem. Well, the problem with that statement is that we know Hanley, and what he says isn’t always what he means. We talk a lot of about Reyes’ hamstring, but let’s not forget Hanley’s bum shoulder which has given him problems for the past three seasons. In ’06 Hanley played in 158 games, and hasn’t hit that number of games played since that time. Granted, he hasn’t been too far off. In ’07 the number was 154, and the lowest number before last year was in ’10 when he appeared in 142 games with the lowest AB total of his career up until that time at 543.
That brings us to last year. It was a disastrous season for the Marlins as a whole as the injuries mounted. Hanley played in 92 games and had 338 ABs; a season to forget. Not only did Hanley’s stats suffer, but the fact that he’s a prima donna doesn’t help. We remember the instance when Freddi Gonzalez pulled him from a game for lack of hustle. It was an embarrassment. Freddi was subsequently fired for benching his “star.” Hanley became a cancer in the clubhouse. His run-ins with Dan Uggla and as recently as last year with Logan Morrison got a lot of attention.
North about 1200 miles Jose Reyes had a great year even though he only played in 126 games. The hamstring has always been Jose’s Achilles heel. He needs his legs to be successful as evidenced by his 31 doubles and the almost unbelieveable 16 triples last year. Reyes’ lost year was in ’09 when he played in only 36 games. Needless to say, for the Marlins to succeed in ’12 both Hanley and Reyes have to be on the field. Reyes is hopeful that the year-round warm weather in Florida will help him to avoid those early season hamstring pulls so frequent in the cold weather states. If the spring is any indication, Reyes and Ramirez look terrific. Hanley’s shoulder hasn’t been an issue at all, and Reyes is legging everything out.
It appears that both men are great friends. The other night the Marlins were featured on MLB Network’s 30 Clubs in 30 Days. Ramirez and Reyes’ relationship was a major point of the show, and the prevaling feeling is that they like each other and should have no problems. Of course, winning will solve everything. It’ll be interesting when the Marlins hit a rough patch. We should be curious as to the Hanley that will apprear. Will he support his teammates? Will he pout? Or now that he’s approaching veteran status has he finally grown up? It shouldn’t be a surprise that Reyes and Ramirez are friendly; they are separated in age by 6 months and both hail from the Dominican Republic.
There’s no doubt that this could be a special year, but special can only happen if these two get along and stay healthy.