Upon my initial reflection I’m thinking no to Hanley Ramirez. This is based on the fact that he has a bad attitude, isn’t strong defensively, and most importantly Derek Jeter has three years left on his deal. But when Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post wrote this morning that the Marlins should trade Ramirez couldn’t help me feel that the Yankees will at least be slightly interested. When it comes to a talent like him in his prime, how can you not?
It would obviously be huge franchise decision and would likely mean the departure of Jesus Montero, probably at least one of the Killer B’s, and more to land him. We are talking about a 27-year-old player who plays a premium defensive position (although not well), and has averaged a career 136 OPS+ from 06-10.
The big question becomes, are the pros bigger and better than the cons? That’s a tough one.
PROS: The big thing when trading for Hanley is clearly his bat. He averages 70 extra base hits a season, a .906 OPS, and a 136 OPS+. His numbers are down this year, but that is due to back issues and he should almost definitely rebound.
His age is another pro. He’s 27 now and is still under contract through 2014. So that would mean he would be on the Yankees from ages 27-30. His contract isn’t bad either, his salary averages just $15.5 ($46.5 overall) million over each of the next three seasons. In fact, Jeter makes more than him this year and that trend will continue until 2014.
CONS: His biggest con is easily his attitude. In 2009 his issues were well documented and that was before he gave up on his team in 2010 and has now had issues again this season. With the Yankees two things could happen, he could blow up under intense media spotlight and it would be a terrible situation. Or a veteran like Jeter or Alex Rodriguez could take him under their wing and maybe the entire situation could be a positive thing. After all, he never had many veterans to play with on the Marlins.
There is also the issue of his defense. It’s pretty bad. Since 2008 his UZR of -13.2 ranks 19th of 21 qualified shortstops. This guy makes Jeter look like Ozzie Smith. He has had seasons where he provided at least average defense, but he’s also had seasons where he has looked totally lost too. The question is should he even be considered as a replacement for Jeter? Maybe he can play in the outfield?
That brings us to our last and potentially biggest con – Derek Jeter. I suppose if you don’t switch Hanley’s position Jeter’s could potentially be moved. The problem here is that Hanley’s bat plays at any position, move Jeter to right field and the Yankees could have the worst right fielder in baseball. Jeter also didn’t move for one superstar, the only reason he might be willing to move for one now is his age, but his pride is still as large as ever.
Realistically it seems like the only way the Yankees even could trade for Hanley now would be if he agreed to switch positions. That’s still not an easy thing. He can’t be moved to second and third because both are better defensively so the only other choice is right field. Then Nick Swisher becomes a problem.
MY TAKE: This just doesn’t work logistically with Jeter around under contract for the next three years. He would probably have to switch positions and we don’t even know if he would be willing to do that. Even if he was open to it, now he has to adjust to playing in the Bronx and playing at a new position at the same time. Not easy to do.
The attitude problems are not a deal breaker by themselves, but considering it is not the best fit to start with they seem to be the icing on the cake. This entire idea seems a lot more like a video game scenario than anything based in reality. Besides, if they are going to trade away their best prospects it should be for pitching.