Los Angeles Dodgers get: SS/3B Hanley Ramirez, RP Randy Choate
Miami Marlins get: SP Nathan Eovaldi, SP Steve McGough
When the worst news of a trade is that there will be less at-bats available for Adam Kennedy and Juan Uribe, any deal can be considered a win.
In a remarkable, Mitch Kupchak-esque pact, both in scope and in secrecy, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Miami Marlins’ franchise player Hanley Ramirez, along with left-handed reliever Randy Choate, for two young pitchers. Ramirez had been rumored on the trading block for weeks, though few thought that the Miami front office would actually ship out the former shortstop whose prolific power bat and speed made him one of the finest players in baseball. However, if indeed the Marlins decided that Hanley, who had made the switch to third base this year because of Jose Reyes’ signing, were to be traded, only a bounty of potential major league prospects would be enough to consummate the deal.
So then, how did the Dodgers acquire Ramirez for a ceiling number 3 starter and a minor league pitcher that isn’t even in LA’s top 20 prospects?
The story is still being developed, but early thoughts have to do with money and performance. Hanley is in the middle of a 6-year, $70 million dollar deal. He’ll be paid $14 million this season, along with a combined $31 million for the next two years. The reports are that the Dodgers will be paying this in full, which leads me to think that perhaps other teams weren’t willing to take on around $37 million dollars of salary.
Of course, that type of money wouldn’t be so much of an issue if Hanley were performing at the peak of his powers. Ramirez has continued a slump that’s lasted a little over two years. After cratering during an injury-ridden 2011 season in which he batted a mere .243 in 92 games with a .712 OPS, the Dominican infielder is hitting at a similar clip this year, stroking a .246 bat to a .750 OPS. His statistics over the last three years now have fallen from a crest of a .953 OPS, 24 homers, 106 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 2009 during his age 26 season. In many ways, this type of dip in performance is particularly worrisome when a player of his talents should be hitting his prime, rather than a mid-career lull.
Even with those glaring numbers, a couple statistically inferior seasons from a potential MVP that’s been injured and asked to move to third shouldn’t be enough to move him for anything less than a king’s ransom. The last factor in this trade trade thus has to be attitude. The Marlins were losing this year despite a high payroll, the adrenaline and energy of a new stadium, a great, but demanding manager and a bunch of vaunted free agent acquisitions. Instead, the team sputtered in the very competitive NL East, falling to last place in a division they were expected to at least fight for ownership of. The locker room chemistry had to be shaken up, and so within a week, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Randy Choate and Hanley Ramirez were all traded for pitching prospects.
In return for Ramirez, the Marlins obtained two young pitchers…who most people haven’t heard of. Let’s get this out of the way: I don’t know who Scott McGough is. He’s not in the Dodgers top 20 prospects, nor have his minor league numbers been particularly inspiring. I’m not entirely sure how or why he was picked by the Marlins, but he certainly isn’t anyone of consequence in a trade.
As I mentioned, Nathan Eovaldi is a 22-year old right hander who most scouts project as a middle to back r… Read more...