Hanley Ramirez Rumors

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.

AL East Notes: Yankees, Hanley, Orioles

Alex Rodriguez broke his hand last night, when he was hit by a pitch from Felix Hernandez in Seattle. The injury is expected to sideline Rodriguez for six to eight weeks, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Not surprisingly, the news will affect the Yankees' summer shopping list. Here are the latest notes from the AL East…

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman said he’ll engage the market for a third baseman, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.  The Yankees will consider all third base options, including Chase Headley of the Padres, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). It seems unlikely that the Yankees would meet the Padres' asking price for Headley, Heyman writes (on Twitter).
  • The Red Sox asked the Marlins about Hanley Ramirez before last night’s trade, but Boston’s interest was in acquiring the infielder and flipping him to a third team, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. It sounds as though the Red Sox were going to flip Ramirez to either the A’s or the Dodgers, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports (on Twitter).
  • The Orioles announced that they signed 25-year-old Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia to a minor league contract. The Orioles will assign the 6’5”, 195-pound switch-hitter to Double-A Bowie. Urrutia did not play in 2011 following an unsuccessful attempt at defection, according to the Orioles. He established residency in Haiti after successfully defecting from Cuba.

Dodgers Acquire Hanley Ramirez & Randy Choate

The Dodgers announced that they have acquired Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate from the Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi and minor league right-hander Scott McGough. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Miami is not sending any money to the Dodgers to cover the salaries of Ramirez and Choate (Twitter links). But GM Ned Colletti couldn't pass up the chance to add Ramirez to his team's struggling lineup.

“The addition of a hitter the caliber of Hanley Ramirez improves our lineup from top to bottom, inserting a proven run producer to go along with Matt and Andre,” Colletti said. “We’re excited for Hanley to begin a new chapter in Los Angeles.”

The Athletics, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Orioles all had some interest in Ramirez, and the Red Sox might have been interested as well. However, the infielder has 37.3MM remaining on his contract with Miami ($15MM in 2012, $15.5MM in 2013 and $16MM in 2014) and owns a pedestrian .246/.322/.430 batting line. His trade value isn’t what it once was.

"We had to do something," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). "The machine was sputtering. It's too good a baseball team and for some reason it didn't seem to be operating on all cylinders from the beginning of the season."

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will determine whether to play Ramirez at shortstop or third base, Rosenthal reports (on Twitter). Ramirez has volunteered to play either position, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). He's likely to play shortstop until Dee Gordon returns from the disabled list, then move to third base.

Choate, 36, has a 2.49 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 60.3% ground ball rate in 25 1/3 innings with the Marlins this year. The lefty specialist earns $1.5MM in the final season of a two-year, $2.5MM contract and will hit free agency after the season. The Dodgers had been looking for a left-handed reliever.

Eovaldi has started ten games for the Dodgers this year, posting a 4.15 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 56 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old entered the season as the 96th-best prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America. In five minor league seasons he has a 3.28 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 3.7 BB /9.

McGough, a 22-year-old right-hander, has a 3.88 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 34 relief outings at Class A. The 2011 fifth rounder has averaged more than one strikeout per inning since being drafted.

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports first reported the trade and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports first reported McGough's inclusion in the deal. Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post.


Multiple Teams Interested In Hanley Ramirez

6:47pm: With Ramirez owed roughly $38.5MM for the remainder of his contract, rival executives say the Marlins would have to pick up a substantial portion of that money in any deal, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com. As well, some teams think Ramirez is not a third baseman, though they might try him again at shortstop (Twitter links).

3:59pm: Though the Marlins are waiting for the Dodgers to show interest in Ramirez, no significant talks have taken place between the teams yet, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter).

2:15pm: The Athletics, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Orioles are among the teams with interest in Hanley Ramirez, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). Interest levels in Ramirez vary and nothing is close, Rosenthal reports. The Red Sox are also interested, according to USA Today. However, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com hears Boston isn't in on Ramirez (Twitter link).

An American League official told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the Marlins' asking price for Hanley Ramirez is "not ridiculous." Miami wants quality young pieces in return for Ramirez, who earns $15MM in 2012, $15.5MM in 2013 and $16MM in 2014. The infielder does not have no-trade protection.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests the A's, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Pirates, Blue Jays and Orioles are potential fits for Ramirez. Earlier today, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs suggested Toronto could be a fit because Rogers Centre is a haven for right-handed power hitters. Though I have no doubt the Blue Jays checked in on Ramirez, they routinely inquire in available players, so this isn't necessarily an indication of serious interest.


Blue Jays Interested In Josh Johnson

5:24pm: The Marlins told teams they would trade only one of Johnson or Sanchez, so it would take a "blowaway" offer to land Johnson as of now, reports Peter Gammons of MLB Network (on Twitter).

4:15pm: Teams inquiring on Johnson are being told his finger issue is minor, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). Johnson is expected to make his next start.

2:49pm: The Blue Jays are interested in Marlins starter Josh Johnson, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Blue Jays also have interest in Hanley Ramirez, but their interest in Johnson is stronger, Morosi reports.

Johnson, 28, has a 4.14 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 119 2/3 innings of work this year. The 6'7" right-hander earns $13.75MM per season in 2012 and 2013. He has a ground ball rate of 46.9% and an average fastball velocity of 93 mph, according to FanGraphs. Johnson experienced irritation on the middle finger of his pitching hand in last night's start.

The Blue Jays, now 48-47, are said to be looking for controllable starting pitching options, even after acquiring J.A. Happ. The club's injury-depleted rotation currently includes Ricky Romero, Aaron Laffey, Carlos Villanueva, Henderson Alvarez and Brett Cecil.

The Marlins are drawing interest in a number of players, including Ramirez and Johnson, after trading Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit. They're open to moving Ramirez, but likely to keep Johnson.