Am I the only one who read this headline, "Marlins don't want Hanley to risk injury", and thought, "Oh, crap! Hanley can't reach his draft value if he doesn't steal 50"? My next action was to click through and read the article.
In it, current Marlins' manager Fredi Gonzalez expressed the intention that sometime in the future Ramirez will stop trying to steal so many bases and concentrate on hitting more HRs.
The speedy Ramirez swiped 51 bases in each of his first two seasons. This year, he may well end up reaching that number again. But in a perfect world, Gonzalez prefers the talented shortstop to gradually reduce that number.
Asked if Ramirez was primed for another 50 stolen base season, Gonzalez said: "I hope not. The reason being, the more your body gets banged up -- the wear and tear. He's a guy who hits .300, he hits you 30 [home runs], and has a chance to drive in a lot of runs. I'm scared, because the more you attempt to steal, even if you don't steal, you're diving back to first base. You're getting beaten up pretty good.
"He can handle it now, being as young as he is. Hopefully, the home runs go up and the stolen bases go down."
So do the Marlins have the type of team that would allow Ramirez to stop making things happen on the bases? Very affirmatively, they do not. 3B is being manned by cast-off Jorge Cantu. CF is filled with Alejandro de Aza and Cody Ross. Behind the plate? There is a drop-off from expected starter Mike Rubello, who will open the season on the DL, to I-don't-know-who.
The team's pitching staff is just as bad. Cast-off Mark Hendrickson is the Opening Day starter. Scott Olsen looks like he will never get back to his 2006 production. Sergio Mitre? On the DL following a campaign with a 1.50+ WHIP. Ricky Nolasco? Coming off a 2007 season lost to injury. Rick VandenHurk? Some promise. Andrew Miller? The same.
The only thing fantasy owners need to worry about HanRam is those who are looking beyond the 2008 season. For those, there is no easy way to dismiss these stated intentions of Ramirez's manager.