|Can Reyes, Ramirez co-exist?||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on December 14, 2011
The dust has settled after one of the most exciting Winter Meetings in recent memory. Several marquee names are on the move, one of which being former New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes heading to South Beach as the centerpiece of the new Miami Marlins.
But not too long ago that was a title held by problematic shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
In the wake of the Marlins signing Reyes to a six-year, $106 million contract, owner Jeffrey Loria immediately called Ramirez to remind him how important he is to franchise moving forward ... as the team's third baseman.
Early reports have suggested that Ramirez is not happy at all about having to switch positions. In fact, rumors claim that Ramirez and Reyes have never liked each other, so not only is Ramirez being forced to change positions, but it's also coming at the hands of someone he doesn't respect.
In the meantime, the team is now faced with what to do with Ramirez. He has a history of being a troublesome player, whether it's his lackadaisical attitude or quarrels with his manager. However, the Marlins also realize Ramirez, when focused, is an extremely talented baseball player and could be a vital cog in the Marlins' 2012 success.
By bringing in Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Reyes, the Marlins immediately have transformed themselves into a contender in the NL East, after finishing last in the division in 2011. The team may still add another few pieces, but the core of the team appears set.
Gaby Sanchez will play first base, Omar Infante at second, Reyes at shortstop, Ramirez (if not traded) at third, John Buck catching, and an outfield comprised of Mike Stanton in right, Logan Morrison in left and a combination of Chris Coghlan and Emilio Bonifacio in center.
If the Marlins decide that the headache associated with keeping Ramirez will affect the other players on the team, exploring a trade would be the best option. There would likely be many teams willing to bid for Ramirez's services.
If so, the Marlins would hope to receive a starting pitcher, third baseman or center fielder in return. One rumor that has been debated would be a straight up deal of Ramirez to the Mets for Reyes' old buddy David Wright.
The Mets need a shortstop and the Marlins need a third baseman, so this deal would make sense for both teams. Both players are about the same age, and now that Reyes is gone, it seems logical that a trade for Wright would follow for the Mets to continue their rebuilding phase.
However, Mets' GM Sandy Alderson has said that the team will not be trading Wright, at least this offseason. And even so, Ramirez's attitude would not exactly fit in with a team that already has a myriad of problems.
The Atlanta Braves are said to be searching for a shortstop. The Braves are said to be fielding offers for starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens, so a Ramirez for Jurrjens swap could be an option.
Though spring training is still about two months away, the Marlins will act quickly on whether they'll convince Ramirez that a move to third base for a contending team is a better move than seeking a trade.
While Ramirez is no longer the "big fish" in town, "sharing the tank" with Reyes might be in his best interests.