Hanley Ramirez Deal a Huge Risk
I was surprised as anyone when I woke up Wednesday morning to learn that the Los Angeles Dodgers had acquired Hanley Ramirez (the once touted franchise player) and Randy Choate from the Miami Marlins in exchange for Nate Eovaldi and Scott McGough. Make no mistake about this deal – landing Ramirez is a risky move by the Dodgers.
True, the Dodgers needed to solidify the left side of their infield and Ramirez is definitely an upgrade over both Juan Uribe (.196, 2 HR, 17 RBIs) and Dee Gordon (.229, 1HR, 17 RBI), but was it worth picking up the remaining $38.5 million owed to Ramirez through 2014? If Dodgers fans think the investment was worth it, they are banking on getting the 2009 version of Ramirez where he hit a National League best .342 with 24 HR and 106 RBI finishing second only to Albert Pujols in the MVP race – not the 2011 (.243, 10 HR, 45 RBI) or 2012 version of Ramirez (.246, 14 HR, 48 RBI).
In Ramirez’s defense, 2011 was an injury-plagued season, but questions over his lack of desire to play, hustle, and maturity continue to plague him. When Ramirez broke into the league seven years ago, he did so with an enormous amount of natural-born talent. The game just came easy for him. Increasingly, there is a belief that Ramirez just hasn’t committed himself to become a better baseball player and has instead relied solely on his natural abilities. I find that hard to believe, but still, that perception is out there.
While you have to applaud the Dodgers brass for pulling the trigger on such a major deal and sticking to their commitment to fans that they’ll spend whatever it takes to bring a championship caliber team back to Los Angeles, I just don’t see how Ramirez puts the Dodgers over the top. They still have major holes in their pitching and lineup and one player is not going to fix that.
I guess my biggest issue with the trade is how it impacts the Dodgers’ willingness to go out and pay for a big free agent in the coming years. Yes, they have been true to their word so far, but they just committed $40 million on an infielder who hasn’t been relevant in two seasons. Sometimes it makes sense to throw money at a player and other times it doesn’t.
I feel like this is one time where it doesn’t make sense. I hope I’m wrong though, because I really do like Ramirez. Maybe this is the wake up call he needed. Time will tell.
Posey Making Strong Case For Comeback Player-of-the-Year
After sitting out the majority of last season due to horrific injuries sustained to his knee and ankle during a brutal home plate collision in May 2011, Buster Posey seems to finally be back. As expected, Posey spent the first few months of the season getting comfortable with being the everyday catcher again, while building speed, agility, and finding his groove at the plate…with him apparently having finally found his swing during the month of July.
In July, Posey is hitting a whopping .376 with 3 HR and 20 RBI and has collected 25 hits. More impressively, Posey has done the bulk of catching for the Giants and when he’s not catching, he has moved over to first base. So yeah – he’s rarely given a day off.
San Francisco couldn’t be happier with the way Posey has come back. As much as people like to talk about the Giants’ deep pitching staff as the key to their success, the fact remains: as Posey goes, so do the Giants. Fans saw just how valuable he was to the team last year – because when he went down, so did the Giants’ entire season.
At just 25 years old, Posey is the leader on this team. His leadership is seen everywhere – how he catches a game, blocks a ball in the dirt in crunch time, throws out a runner to kill an inning for the opposing team, comes up with a key hit, and the list goes on. He is a consummate professional and everything you want in a franchise player.
There are a lot of questions with the Giants when you start to think about how far this team can go this season. Can Tim Lincecum pitch like the Tim Lincecum of old; do they need another bat to come of the bench and can Santiago Casilla close out games consistently? These are all valid questions, but one thing is agreeable by all. The Giants aren’t going anywhere without a healthy Posey.
Season Two of The Franchise Off and Running…Kind Of
On July 11, season two of “The Franchise” premiered on Showtime and this year the show is capturing the on and off the field happenings of the Miami Marlins. For those unfamiliar with The Franchise, Showtime provides us with a rare, behind-the-scenes look into a major league baseball team, which includes candid player interviews and sensitive conversations between owners and general managers regarding player performance and team direction. Season one followed the 2011 San Francisco Giants.
Having enjoyed season one, I was really looking forward to the new season and an inside look at the “new” Marlins organization. However, to this point I’ve been thoroughly disappointed.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen seems to be playing it up for the camera, walking around the clubhouse with all this bravado and dropping F-bombs like it’s going out of style. In the third episode, Guillen does show a softer side of him when he discusses his love for his family (especially his wife), but the moment is diminished after he calls his wife “his bitch” at the end of the segment. While he’s probably joking, it proves just how far Guillen is willing to go to have the spotlight shine on him.
Other low points of the show revolve around Marlins Vice President, and de facto General Manager, David Samson. Samson is the guy who earlier this year was quoted as saying “voters in Miami are not the smartest people in the world.’’ Maybe he’s right (voters did approve the funds to build the Marlins new $624 million stadium), but to say it publicly to people who you need to buy tickets to your games is outrageous.
Samson comes across as neurotic, insecure and a childish, which probably explains why the show featured him so much in the first two episodes. There is one scene that shows him meticulously tracking every win and loss on a dry eraser board and then another scene that shows him jumping up and down and slapping fives with his staff after a regular season win. The bottom line is that his inclusion doesn’t add anything to the show.
The most irritating facet of the show is what I believe to be producers trying to make Marlins outfielder Logan Morrison into Brian Wilson of the San Francisco Giants. I like Morrison, and I’m sure he’s a funny guy, but the way he comes off seems so phony. Wilson is in a world of his own. Even if you think what Wilson does is an act, it comes across so forced when you try and recreate it using another player.
They’re only a few episodes in, so the hope is that it gets better. Even if it doesn’t, I’ll probably continue to watch because that’s what I do. At least you’ve been forewarned. If you are watching, drop me a line in the comments section below. I would love to hear what other people think about the show so far.
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