It’s easy to dismiss the Dodgers acquisition of Hanley Ramirez, who hasn’t lived up to expectations over the last two seasons, posting OPS+ totals of 95 in 2011 and 100 so far this year in 2012. However, the Dodgers will take his league-average production with possible upside over the likes of Luis Cruz and Juan Uribe. Plus, their newly deep wallets make the only true cost Nathan Eovaldi. Here are a few reasons this deal helps the Dodgers:
-Hanley at his worst is an upgrade for LA. When Hanley was truly great, he had 20+ home run power and could steal 50 bases. Not bad from the shortstop position. However, when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez was moved to third base to make room for their shiny new toy. While the narrative has changed a little since, the early reports were that Hanley was upset by the move. He was their shiny toy. Think of something along the lines of the Woody/Buzz relationship in the first Toy Story. And yes, there’s a joke about Reyes falling with style and his hamstrings and yadda yadda. Back to Ramirez’s value. With the flexibility to play him at either spot on the left side of the infield, the Dodgers acquired an upgrade over their current lot, which include: Uribe, Cruz, Ivan De Jesus, Jerry Hairston, Elian Herrera, Adam Kennedy, and Justin Sellers. Oh, and Dee Gordon. Who has been atrocious. The Dodgers will take even a newly-average Hanley Ramirez.
-Hanley Ramirez hasn’t always gotten along in Miami, even before being moved to third. Remember when Fredi Gonzalez benched him for not hustling after a ball he kicked into the outfield ? A change of scenery and a new manager may allow Hanley to turn the page on what has been a fairly chaotic career so far.
-Randy Choate is pretty good. Grantland’s Jonah Keri came on our podcast and declared the Javier Lopez contract silly because there were guys in the league like Choate, who do a similar job for a quarter of the price. Since the beginning of 2011, Choate has pitched 50 innings of 2.16 ERA ball with a K/9 of 10.4. Those number are better than Lopez’s. And I’ll repeat, this time in fraction form for emphasis: 1/4 of the price.
The Dodgers did not enter today the favorites to win the division. But with the addition of Ramirez, Choate, and a possible starting pitcher to be acquired later, the Giants do not sit comfortably atop the NL West. So let’s have a drink and enjoy it.