The Dodgers pulled off quite the trade this morning, acquiring infielder Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate from the Miami Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi and minor league pitcher Scott McGough.
The baseball world stood up and took notice as apt descriptors flew from the keyboards of writers in-the-know. Dylan Hernandez, of The Los Angeles Times, called the trade “stunning,” Jon Weisman used the word “earthquake,” and over at MSTI Mike Petriello said “Wow! I mean, wow.”
Other adjectives which come to mind include inspired, bold, blockbuster and last, but not least, savvy. Baseball savvy. Credit Ned Colletti and Stan Kasten – individually or collectively, it doesn’t matter – but credit them.
Now, forget what you’re hearing about how Ramirez supposedly isn’t the hitter he once was. Or tuck it away for an I-told-you-so-moment later.
The third baseman slash shortstop had an off year in 2011 (BFD) and hasn’t hit as much as Miami would’ve liked this season, while coming back from major left shoulder surgery last September. But look, do you want to compare a guy to himself or to what he’s replacing?
Hanley’s going to hit the ball hard and he’s going to hit it far. He’s gonna hit the crap out of the ball, is what he’s going to do. He’ll hit for power, for average, he’ll get on base, and he’ll give opposing pitchers and managers something to think about. The man’s initials are HR, after all. Expect big-time hitting and an immediate impact. The Dodgers are better today than they were yesterday. A lot better.
Choate’s no slouch either, and his impact will be felt quickly too. He’s a smart veteran southpaw, who does what he’s supposed to do – get lefty batters out. He’d be an important pickup by himself, but with Ramirez this is anything but a throw-in we’re talking about here. Check one more box on the to-do list.
Eovaldi has a good career in front of him, and Miami did well to get him, but the Dodgers have more arms in the system than they know what to do with it. Actually, strike that. They do know what to do with them, so look for more surprise deals from the front office.
A starting pitcher – perhaps Ryan Dempster and perhaps not Ryan Dempster – is coming shortly, and either another upgrade in the infield or an outfielder. Plenty of names have been floated around the blogosphere, from Hunter Pence to Shane Victorino to Josh Willingham. Any of those guys would be great in L.A., and there are others. Who knows, maybe Chase Headley is still in the mix.
I’m OK with Ramirez at short or at third, and I’d bat him fifth, going with a right-left-right Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Hanley. Whatever his issues defensively, he’s a better shortstop than Dee Gordon, and L.A. can cross the Gordon-returning bridge when they get to it.
The Dodgers get Hanley as a “buy low” kind of thing. Can you imagine the cost to acquire a player of this caliber at his peak?
As for Hanley’s behavioral history, well, he has one and it’s a concern. Think Andrew Bynum, with his shirt on. But the “change of scenery” idea has merit, and as Don Mattingly has already said, the player comes to a solid clubhouse with “a clean slate.”
Moreover, Ramirez is just plain going to a better organization. Jeez, he’s getting away from Ozzie Guillen. That alone ought to propel him to greatness on the field and personal bliss off of it.
Great trade for Los Angeles. Simply a great trade for Los Angeles. I’m excited and you should be too…unless, of course you’re a San Francisco booster, in which case I don’t care.