With league lows in hitting statistics, the Marlins just traded Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate for two more pitchers. On the surface, it seems indicative of past head trauma to do nothing but pick up pitchers when bats are the critical need. However, the Marlins may be taking a little bit of a long view, as they managed to dump $15.75m of payroll in the process. Hanley was owed $31.5m over the next two years.
The next big question looming is Josh Johnson. His stellar outing Monday night certainly increased his marketability, and the front office may have him in mind as the asset to trade for some big bats. Placido Polanco, Michael Olt and Chase Headly are potential third basemen. Headly would bring the most offense to the lineup, but the price in prospects may be too high.
The biggest short-term impact for the trade is most likely in the clubhouse. Hanley is in his third “down” year, and there are still rumors of discontent that persist about the fragility of Hanley’s happiness. The press has been using words like “moody” and “mercurial” about Hanley, and the impact of a bad attitude in the clubhouse can be infectious.
Jeffrey Loria has admitted bewilderment and disappointment as to the reasons his on-paper, pre-season pennant-winning lineup has underperformed to a 12 ½ game gap, while Ozzie Guillen has admitted that “[h]e needs to have a fresh beginning.”
The press and fans seem to be united that the Marlins’ seller’s mentality is an admission of error at the start of the year, but I tend to disagree with that sentiment. The team has performed remarkably well, given the abysmal RISP with two outs and LOB numbers this year, and some of ninth-inning struggles on the mound. The mental picture of our record with the addition of glaring defensive problems is not a pretty one, to be sure.
There are six days to go before the deadline. I hope the front office adds some offensive punch, and that last night’s trade becomes that catalyst that propels the team to a winning August and September.