Last night in a somewhat surprising move the Los Angeles Dodgers went out and acquired shortstop/third baseman, Hanley Ramirez, and relief pitcher, Randy Choate, for two minor league players. If you would have to told me this would happen at the beginning of the season I would have said that you’re crazy. Depending on what you’ve read, many people believe that this was either a good deal for the Marlins or a puzzling one. My thoughts after the jump.
From 2006-2010 Hanley Ramirez was a top 5 player and baseball and was easily the best shortstop, even though he was sub-par defensively. He was able to accumulate 29.8 WAR and it looked as if he would become the best all-around player in the game. He was clearly the Marlins’ franchise player. Fast forward to 2011 and all of a sudden we have a different player on our hands. The past season and a half (roughly) Ramirez has been at the barrel when looking at SS/3B. He’s only managed 2.7 WAR, and his wRC+ has sat at 100. Essentially he’s been a league average player. Average isn’t bad, but Ramirez is only 28 and in 2009 he posted 7.6 WAR, followed by 4.6 WAR the year after.
Going back to the 2006-2010 time-frame Ramirez had a BABIP of .347, but from 2011-2012 his BABIP has fallen to .273. That’s a difference of .074 which is huge. I took a look at his batted ball profile and I found one thing that stuck out. From ’06-’10 he averaged 117.6 singles per season. From ’11-’12 he’s only averaged 54.5 singles. It’s worth noting that he only played in 92 games last season due to shoulder problems and it’s possible that he’s still feeling the effects of that this season.
The Dodgers need all the help they can get in the infield at this point though. Assuming they keep Ramirez at third (He’s starting there tonight, anyway) he should be an upgrade. As a team they haven’t gotten very good production from their third basemen. Their slash line has been fairly average: .248/.321/.355 but they have gotten absolutely no power as their .107 ISO shows. The problem is Ramirez is leaving a somewhat hitter friendly ballpark and going to a pitcher friendly ballpark. It will be interesting to see how he adjusts. Being a left-handed hitter will certainly help the Dodgers though because he can split up the right-handed batters that are in the line-up.
The Dodgers are taking a risk with Ramirez, but if Ramirez shows flashes of his 2010 season this could turn out very well for the ball-club.