Hanley Ramirez Rumors

Hanley Ramirez Open To Extension With Dodgers

Hanley Ramirez is a year and a half away from free agency but the shortstop told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he would be happy to discuss an extension with the Dodgers if the team broached the subject.  "Definitely, because I want to stay here," Ramirez said. "I want to stay here forever."

Offseason thumb surgery and a hamstring injury have limited Ramirez to just 142 PA this season, but he returned to the Dodgers lineup in early June and has been in great form ever since.  Ramirez is hitting .386/.444/.693 with eight homers and appears to be back on track after disappointing seasons in 2011-12.  Ramirez credited the Dodgers training staff with helping him return to full fitness, one of the reasons he wants to stay with the club over the long term, not to mention the fact that the Dodgers are focused on contending.

Ramirez signed a six-year, $70MM extension with the Marlins in May 2008 that covered the 2009-14 seasons, and Ramirez will earn $16MM in the final year of that deal.  The Dominican Republic native will be 31 years old on Opening Day 2015 — the back end of his prime, but still young enough to secure another strong contract in free agency, especially if he keeps hitting. 

The Dodgers, of course, haven't been shy about adding big contracts and signing key players to major extensions.  The club is guaranteed to spend at least $122MM on payroll in every year through the 2017 season and could sign Clayton Kershaw to an extension worth a minimum of $180MM.  Shortstop Corey Seager was ranked as the third-best prospect in the Dodgers system by the Baseball America Prospect Handbook (behind only Hyun-Jin Ryu and Yasiel Puig) and he's hitting well at A-ball, but Seager is only 19 years old and "likely will face a move to third base at some point" according to BA, so Ramirez could help solidify the shortstop position in L.A. for years to come.


Olney On Puig, Wells, Martin, Teixeira, Hanley

The latest from ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider subscription required)…

  • Cuban slugger Yasiel Puig is forcing the Dodgers' hand with his monster performance in Spring Training, Olney writes. While the team clearly has no place for him to play given the presence of Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, the buzz he's generating and intrigue from scouts could force the team to consider him for a quick promotion to complement Ethier and/or Crawford against left-handed pitching.
  • Olney wonders why the Yankees appear willing to take on $13MM of Vernon Wells' salary in the trade that has reportedly been agreed to, but wouldn't spend that money on Russell Martin earlier in the offseason: "Instead of having a good defender at a premium defensive position, they have now invested that money in a corner outfielder who has been in decline the last couple of seasons and wasn't even used as a regular player for much of 2012."
  • One possible explanation, as Olney notes, is the salary relief the Yankees will get from Mark Teixeira's injury. The World Baseball Classic is paying the team $7-8MM to cover the injury sustained by Teixeira as he prepared for the event.
  • Similarly, the WBC is picking up the tab for the Dodgers on the injury sustained by Hanley Ramirez in the Championship game.

Dodgers Mulling Options After Hanley Ramirez Injury

The Dodgers announced via Twitter that Hanley Ramirez's right thumb will require surgery, causing him to miss the beginning of the 2013 season. The infielder, who had been slated to be the Dodgers' regular shortstop, is expected to return in approximately eight weeks. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the severity of the injury and the fact that Ramirez tore a ligament in his thumb. (Twitter links.)

In spite of losing Ramirez to start the year, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said he isn't looking to trade for a temporary shortstop while Ramirez recovers, Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times reports on Twitter. Colletti also said he has no plans to re-start his pursuit of free agent third baseman Scott Rolen, according to another Hernandez tweet.

Of course, should the Dodgers decline to test the market for a replacement, the club has several internal options.  As Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts notes on Twitter, the Dodgers could well move Luis Cruz to short while relying upon Nick Punto and Juan Uribe at third. Alternatively, the Dodgers could turn to last year's opening day shortstop, Dee Gordon, although according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times, "it's hard to imagine that's the direction they will go." After a difficult 2012 season in which he posted a substandard .228/.280/.281 line, Gordon was reportedly shopped around by L.A. and seemed destined to begin this year in the minors. Other players in Dodgers camp who could be in the mix on the left side of the infield include Jerry Hairston Jr., Skip Schumaker, and Justin Sellers, writes Lyle Spencer of MLB.com.  

Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.



NL West Notes: Dodgers, Hernandez, Rockies, Posey

Earlier today we heard that the Padres haven't settled on a long-term strategy for third baseman Chase Headley. They'll hold onto him for now, but could trade or extend him later in 2013. Here are more notes from the Padres' division…

Zach Links and Steve Adams contributed to this post.


This Date In Transactions History: Marlins Fire Sale

Two weeks ago, the Marlins agreed to send basically every player making decent money on their roster to the Blue Jays for a package of prospects. The 12-player blockbuster became official a week ago, leaving Miami with just three players scheduled to make $2MM+ in 2013. Ricky Nolasco ($11.5MM) and Yunel Escobar ($5MM) could both still be moved before the end of the winter as well.

This isn't the first time the Marlins have torn things down and rebuilt from scratch, of course. They did it immediately following their 1997 World Series win, then again a few years after bringing home the 2003 World Championship. On this date in 2005, the team officially swung a pair of trades sending three of their highest paid players elsewhere.

Trade #1: Boston Red Sox
Josh Beckett, then just 25, was coming off a 3.38 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 178 2/3 innings for Florida. He earned $2.4MM in 2005 and was due a significant raise in his second trip through arbitration, plus the team was unlikely to re-sign him long-term when he hit free agency after 2007.

Beckett had significant trade value, so the Marlins took advantage by attaching then-31-year-old Mike Lowell to him in talks. If a team wanted Beckett, they had to take Lowell as well. The third baseman slipped to .236/.298/.360 with eight homers in 558 plate appearances that year, but more importantly he was scheduled to earn $18MM total from 2006-2007.

Few teams could meet Florida's demand for a young shortstop, but the Red Sox were one of them. The two sides worked out a seven-player trade that sent Beckett, Lowell, and Guillermo Mota to Boston in exchange for prospects Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, and Jesus Delgado. The Marlins saved all $18MM owed to Lowell in addition to second- and third-year arbitration salaries for Beckett and a third-year arbitration salary for Mota. The trade worked out well for both teams as Beckett and Lowell helped the Red Sox to the 2007 World Championship while Ramirez developed into an MVP candidate and Sanchez became a rock solid innings-eater for the Marlins.

Trade #2: New York Mets
During the 2004-2005 offseason, Florida landed the top free agent slugger by signing Carlos Delgado to a four-year, $52MM contract with a fifth-year vesting option. The then-33-year-old hit .301/.399/.582 with 33 homers in the first year of the contract, good enough to earn him a sixth-place finish in the MVP voting. However, like the contracts of Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, Delgado's deal with the Marlins was heavily backloaded. He earned just $4MM in 2005, then his salary was scheduled to jump to $13.5MM in 2006, $14.5MM in 2007, $16MM in 2008, and potentially $12MM in 2009 if the option vested ($4MM buyout).

Rather than pay him that huge salary over the next three years, the Marlins traded Delgado to the Mets for three minor leaguers: Yusmeiro Petit, Mike Jacobs, and Grant Psomas. The Mets also received $7MM from Florida in the trade, but it was a drop in the bucket compared to the $48MM left on the contract. Delgado hit .265/.349/.505 with 100 homers during his first three years with New York, which was enough for the team to exercise his option even though it didn't vest. Jacobs had three decent years with the Marlins while Petit and Psomas flamed out, but the real get for the club was the $41MM in payroll savings. Combined with the Red Sox swap, the Marlins shed more than $59MM in contract obligations with these two moves seven years ago today.


Dodgers Notes: Hanley, Catchers, Pitcher Trades

As ESPN's Jayson Stark writes, the Dodgers are rapidly turning into California's answer to the Yankees with their big-spending ways.  "Everything is totally different now," said general manager Ned Colletti. "Now we can think bold thoughts. Now we can do bold things. We can think progressively and aggressively. Obviously, we've got to be wise with our choices. We can't be reckless. But now we're encouraged to think big, to think global — if we see a toothpick, to think redwood tree." 

Here's more news from Chavez Ravine…

  • Hanley Ramirez's preference is to play shortstop though he can also play third base, and MLB.com's Ken Gurnick notes that until Ramirez's position is settled, the Dodgers may not be able to make any big moves at the other position.  "We're fine with Hanley playing shortstop, but he's got to be better [defensively]," said Colletti. "We can wait until Spring Training to decide that. Part of the decision is based on Dee Gordon and Luis Cruz. Health aside, there are multiple issues. We'll let spring decide it."
  • Also from Gurnick, Colletti said that he isn't looking for veteran catching depth.  A.J. Ellis is set to start for Los Angeles with Tim Federowicz as the backup.
  • Colletti has a "rough idea" of how much the Dodgers can spend on their 2013 payroll, "but it's debatable depending on who becomes available."
  • At the GM meetings, Colletti said he discussed trades for "players who play multiple positions" and a trade for a starting pitcher "might be a touch more possible."
  • Speaking of trades for pitching, Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles lists five possibly-available starters that the Dodgers could pursue in trades: Jeremy Hellickson, Cliff Lee, Derek Holland, Gavin Floyd and Trevor Bauer.

Dodgers Notes: Kershaw, League, Ramirez, Cruz

Good news for Dodgers fans as General Manager Ned Colletti confirmed that Clayton Kershaw will not require surgery on his right hip, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  Here's more on what Colletti had to say to reporters with all links going to Hernandez's Twitter..

  • The Dodgers will make a strong effort to re-sign their relievers, including free agent Brandon League (Twitter link).  The former Mariner told reporters yesterday that he has informed the Dodgers that he hopes to return.
  • At this point in time, Colletti is leaning towards Hanley Ramirez playing shortstop in 2013, Hernandez tweets.
  • Meanwhile, the club is heading into the offseason with the idea that Luis Cruz can be the Dodgers' third baseman in 2013 (Twitter link).  Cruz, 28, hit .297/.322/.431 with six homers in 78 games for the Dodgers in 2012.  It would make sense for the Dodgers to look in-house for an answer at third with limited options at the position on the open market this winter.
  • Colletti was asked if Juan Uribe has a place on the team in 2013 and the GM responded "We'll have to see," (Twitter link).  To part ways with Uribe, the Dodgers will have to eat the $10.3MM remaining on his deal.

Samson Talks Ozzie, Beinfest, Hanley

Marlins president David Samson said executives, coaches and players share responsibility for the team’s disappointing season, Barry Bloom of MLB.com reports. Samson also discussed the team’s recent trades and potential next moves in the interview with Bloom. Here are the highlights:

  • Samson characterized manager Ozzie Guillen’s first year on the job as disappointing. “It just didn't turn out the way we thought it would when we drew it up,” he said. “That's how life goes sometimes.”
  • Samson said he can’t “imagine being in the game" without president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest. However, he stopped short of saying Beinfest has complete job security. Owner Jeffrey Loria will evaluate all of his employees after the season, Beinfest included.
  • The Marlins traded Hanley Ramirez, their longtime star, because they felt it was time to move on without him. “We just realized we couldn't win with him. It was that simple,” Samson said.
  • Owner Jeffrey Loria said he’s asked his staff for recommendations and will start making evaluations toward the end of the season. Loria declined to speak about Guillen and Beinfest in specifics earlier in the week.

Samson On Payroll, Hanley, Guillen

The Marlins, now tied for last place in their division with a 49-60 record after an offseason of free agent extravagances, are evaluating what went wrong. “We set ourselves up for it,’’ Marlins president David Samson said, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. But owner Jeffrey Loria is “angry, and he should be,” according to Samson. Here are more Marlins-related notes from Samson:

  • Samson wouldn’t say whether the Marlins will lower payroll next year, but he said last month’s Hanley Ramirez trade wasn’t about saving money. “Not one trade that was done was payroll-motivated,’’ Samson said.
  • Changes to the front office and on-field staff can’t be ruled out, Samson said. It’ll be up to Loria to evaluate manager Ozzie Guillen and the rest of the coaching staff, according to Samson. Guillen is in the first year of a four-year contract.
  • Samson assumed most of the responsibility for the team's disappointing season. He mentioned president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill as two others who share the blame.
  • The Marlins will consider adding key players through trades and free agency this offseason, Samson said, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. However, the Marlins won’t match last offseason’s spending spree.

A’s Rumors: Rollins, Hanley, Drew, Escobar

The A's were nine games below .500 in mid-June, but they're now 51-44 following an impressive six-week stretch that's positioned them as contenders for a playoff berth. Here are the latest A’s-related notes and rumors…

  • Rollins is not currently an option for the A's, Slusser reports. Slusser hears from two people who aren't convinced Rollins would approve a deal to Oakland (Twitter links).
  • The A’s pursued Hanley Ramirez aggressively before the Marlins sent him to Los Angeles, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle confirms that the A’s were “very much in on” Ramirez (Twitter link). The Marlins recently offered Oakland a “sweet deal” that would have sent Ramirez to the A's for a couple of minor leaguers and enough cash to cover half of Ramirez’s contract, Knobler writes. But the A’s held off on the deal, and the Dodgers agreed to take on all of Ramirez’s salary.
  • The A’s are still looking to add, Knobler reports. They have been scouting Stephen Drew, have had interest in Yunel Escobar, and have considered the possibility of bringing Oakland native Jimmy Rollins back to the Bay Area.