Hanley Ramirez is one of the top players in baseball, and is the top fantasy shortstop, but his play this year has changed the mind of baseball evaluators and fantasy owners alike. Back in 2009, he signed a 6 year, $70 million contract extension through 2014, which at one time, appeared to be very team friendly. Not so much now based on his performance at the plate thus far in 2011.
On Monday, new manager "Trader" Jack McKeon benched Hanley because he didn't like the way Hanley was running over the weekend. What really happened was that he was late to the team's pre-game stretch. Well, he wasn't late as he was on time for the stretch. But he arrived just 30 minutes prior to the pre-game stretch, when the rest of the team arrived about 1.5-2 hours prior. Essentially, he was benched for not abiding by unwritten clubhouse rules, which in the game of baseball, where you win and lose as a team, shows he is putting himself before the team. Again.
More on Hanley after the jump:
In 2009, second baseman Dan Uggla called Ramirez out for taking himself out of a game and for not showing a desire to win. Juan Rodriguez from the Florida Sun Sentinel has more in this September 2009 article.
So, the feeling among baseball evaluators and teammates is that Hanley plays for Hanley and not for the team. That was made even more obvious yesterday when it was reported that Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison called out Hanley for showing up late to the ballpark on Monday, whch happened to be Jack McKeon's first day on the job.
As a result of the benching and news of the blowup, there is talk that the Marlins should consider dealing Ramirez. ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted a series of tweets addressing rumor this morning:
Buster_ESPN Buster Olney
There is sentiment within FLA organization that Marlins would be better off trading Hanley Ramirez--but also perception that Loria loves him
Marlins in weird place with Hanley. He is best-known player as they move into new park. But within clubhouse, anything other than front man.
By the way:a great concern among some rival evaluators is that Hanley is too big now to be effective SS; sentiment is he needs to streamline
@MELAOlive In my opinion (and nothing more): right now, Hanley's trade value would be about 50-60 cents on dollar, b/c of perf.,effort ?s.
I can't see the Marlins dealing Ramirez for 50-60 cents on the dollar as Olney speculates above. The only way they deal Ramirez is if they get blown away. Every major league player has a down year, and this year it is Hanley's year. Last year, Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp had a down year and there was talk that they should deal him, The Dodgers did not deal him and he is having his best year as a major leaguer this year.
Ramirez is having the worst year of his career this year, hitting just .206-.302-.299 with 4 HRs, 17 RBIs, 34 runs scored and 13 SBs. He is striking out a bit more than usual- 20% vs 18% career K rate, but he is walking more- 11.6% vs a 9.8% career BB rate.
But a few stats that really stand out for me are his BABIP and his ISO. His 2011 BABIP of .239 is well below his career .340 BABIP, as is his 2011 ISO of .093 vs a career ISO of .200. Part of the reason for his low BABIP and ISO is the fact that his 2011 ground ball rate of 55% is the highest of his career, and his 14% line drive rate and 31% fly ball rate are the lowest of his career. Taking all of these stats in tells me he is just having a bad year, and could bounce at any time, whether that is this week or next year.
Should the Marlins deal their star shortstop, anything less than 100 cents on the dollar would tell plenty about how bad they want to rid themselves of what some may call a selfish player, or possibly "clubhouse cancer". Who would be suitors for Ramirez? i would say 28 other teams, excliuding the Rockies who have their own star shortstop in Troy Tulowitzki and whoever ends up with Mets shortstop Jose Reyes.