Almost exactly four years after trading for the vastly talented but sometimes irrational Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers have acquired another Ramirez who possesses almost identical characteristics, Hanley Ramirez.
Hanley is much younger at 28 than Manny was (36) when he came to LA, and while Manny was on the decline and was a pending free agent, Hanley should have his best years ahead of him, and he is signed through 2014. Ramirez’ second biggest minus, and another similarity to Manny, is that he is a terrible defensive player, at least on the infield’s left side.
Long-range plans for Hanley have to be for him to play third base, though the powers that be have said that he will play shortstop while Dee Gordon is injured. Ramirez last played short during his injury-plagued 2011 season, committing 14 errors in only 86 games, for a fielding percentage of .957. His stats have dropped further this year, his first as a third baseman, to a .954 level. I think the master plan should be to market James Loney for pitching help, and move Hanley to first, if not in the next week, certainly during the offseason. For the foreseeable future, Jerry Hairston and the recently hot Juan Uribe can handle third, and it’s Hanley’s bat, not his glove, that gives him his value in general and to the Dodgers in particular.
I hate to see prime prospect Nick Eovaldi go, but that is the price for an all-around hitter in his prime, plus the Dodgers also received 36-year-old lefty reliever Randy Choate. LA also gave up Scott McGough, a righty reliever with about 75 innings under his belt, all in the low minors.
We all thought that the Dodgers’ were in the market for a starting pitcher. Today, they traded one away. Maybe another deal is in the works, or maybe they think good reports on Ted Lilly’s recovery are enough for now.