2009 Offseason: Sox inquired on Hanley Ramirez
January 3, 2009 7 Comments
It has been reported that after losing out on Mark Teixeira, the Red Sox brass contacted the Florida Marlins to see what they might accept for Hanley Ramirez. Yeah, that Hanley; the same one we sent to Florida from Boston as part of an exchange for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. I’m sure the Marlins asked for the moon and then some (the rumor is that they included Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz at the least), and the talks were quickly scuttled.
At the time of the trade, Ramirez was a top shortstop prospect. Everyone knew he had all the talent in the world, but his production in the minor leagues was merely good, not stellar (.297/.350/.430 over seasons). Since that time, he’s gone on to superstardom in the NL, averaging almost 30 HR and 50 SB in three seasons. Talk about seller’s remorse.
I am encouraged that the Sox are exploring ways to buff up this lineup a little bit; we could be sorely lacking in power if Mike Lowell and David Ortiz slip more than expected. Would it be great to add a bat like Ramirez to this lineup? You bet. But again, the question is, at what cost? Heyman and Verducci speculate that the Sox intended to move him to centerfield, but I really don’t think so. Ellsbury has already established himself as a pretty good defender (+17.5 UZR in 2008, +3.0 UZR in center, despite missing time with a wrist injury and splitting time with Coco Crisp), and he’s improving. While Hanley has the speed and athleticism needed for the position, he has appeared in exactly zero professional games as a centerfielder (including the minors). So you lose a good amount of the benefit provided by Ramirez’ bat because of his defense in center.
Hanley’s been one of the worst fielding shortstops over the past three years (-40 according to Dewan’s Fielding Bible), but he was actually almost average in 2008; given that improvement, he’s most valuable to the Sox at shortstop. Lowrie has played well there, but he’s a contact hitter more suited to a reserve role with Boston, and that upgrade is a lot better than supplanting Ellsbury in center. Trading for Hanley would mean trading for or signing a centerfielder.
This is all kind of moot now, but had the Marlins been willing to do the trade for, a package centered around Buchholz, Lowrie and Michael Bowden, I’d have done it.