The end of one a major era in Marlins history ended on this date, three years ago.
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On July 26th, 2012, the newly minted Miami Marlins traded their franchise player Hanley Ramirez, along with lefty reliever Randy Choate, to the Los Angeles Dodgers, for the right handers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough.
Hanley’s trade came only two days after the team dealt Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers. These two moves and the subsequent moves the Marlins made before the deadline and then the blockbuster deal with the Toronto Blue Jays signaled the team was waving the white flag, not even a year after going on a free agency signing binge.
From his arrival in Miami in the Josh Beckett trade with the Boston Red Sox in 2006 to 2010, Hanley was not only the best Marlin, but among the best short stops to ever play the game.
Hanley Ramirez won the Rookie of the Year award in 2006, posting an impressive .292/.353/.480 slash line in 700 plate appearances. He also stole 51 bases and blasted 17 home runs.
Hanley Ramirez’s fWAR (4.4) was second to only Miguel Cabrera‘s 6.3 fWAR that season. In 2007, Hanley finished with a 5.2 fWAR to Miggy’s 5.0 fWAR.
That 2007 season began the era of Hanley Ramirez being the face of the Marlins franchise, as the team traded Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers that off-season.
Ramirez responded to the Cabrera trade with his best season of his career in 2008. Hanley posted a .301/.400/.540 slash line with a 144 wRC+. He blasted a career high 31 home runs and stole 35 bases. This was en route to a career best 7.5 fWAR season for Ramirez, which is still the best single season in Marlins franchise history.
In May of 2008, Hanley was rewarded the largest contract in Marlins history, at the time. He signed a 6-year $70 million extension with the club, one that he unfortunately never got to finish with the franchise.
Hanley Ramirez posted another dominant season in 2009, posting a career best slash line of .342/.410/.543 with a 149 wRC+. Hanley blasted 24 home runs and stole 27 bases, won the batting title, and finished second in National League MVP voting that year for the Marlins. He posted a 7.1 fWAR, which actually is the second best single season mark in franchise history.
The 2010 season was a bit of a coming down to earth one for Hanley, as he posted a .300/.378/.475 slash line, dealing with issues with his shoulder much of the season. He hit 21 home runs, stole 32 bases, but finished with a 127 wRC+ and a 4.2 fWAR, which was his lowest mark since his rookie season.
2011 was the worst season of Hanley’s career, as he posted a career worst .243/.333/.379 slash line with a 97 wRC+. Hanley played in just 92 games that season and posted a career worst 0.9 fWAR. On August 2nd, Hanley dislocated his shoulder going after a pop-up and would miss the remainder of the season.
Near the end of the season, Hanley openly called for the Marlins to sign his good friend Jose Reyes, with him moving to third to accommodate Reyes.
When the team did finally come to terms with Jose Reyes over the off-season, Hanley seemed to have changed his tune. He was not as open to the idea of moving to third, at least according to the media. He finally came into the season and played third base for the team, but there was a lot of uneasiness that surrounded him that season.
Finally, a hand injury sustained when he punched a fan in the Marlins dugout was the final straw for the franchise. After some negotiations, the team reached an agreement with the Dodgers to get former top prospect Nathan Eovaldi.
Since the trade made 3-years ago, Scott McGough is the only player that remains with the organization he was traded to. He’s currently pitching in Triple-A for the Miami Marlins organization, while Hanley signed with the Red Sox this past off-season, Randy Choate is a Cardinal, and Nathan Eovaldi was traded to the New York Yankees for Martin Prado and others by the Marlins this past off-season.
Hanley Ramirez left a huge impression on the Marlins franchise, even if fans don’t want to admit it. He owns a franchise best 30.4 fWAR, ranks 3rd with his 148 home runs, and is second to Luis Castillo with his 230 stolen bases.
While Hanley didn’t always rub fans the right way with his lack of hustle and porous defense at short, there is little doubt he was among the greatest Marlins of all-time.
That is why three years ago today, when I learned of the Hanley Ramirez trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers, I was saddened. It was the end of the era of a great Marlin.
Thanks for the memories, Hanley!
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