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Tag:Hanley Ramirez
Posted on: March 1, 2012 10:33 pm
 

Spring primer: Miami Marlins



By Matt Snyder


All of a sudden, in just one offseason, the Miami Marlins have undergone a complete makeover. They have a new name, logo and stadium. New, more colorful uniforms are part of the deal as well. Still, that's all window-dressing if the on-field product resembles the 72-90 one from 2011. And it doesn't. Not only did the Marlins bring in three highly-coveted and high-priced free agents, but they traded for fiery Carlos Zambrano and brought in one of the most outspoken -- and, at times, effective -- managers in baseball. How Ozzie Guillen's new-look troops fare in the 2012 season remains to be seen, but two things are certain: More people will be in attendance to find out and it's not going to be boring.

Major additions: SS Jose Reyes, LHP Mark Buehrle, RHP Carlos Zambrano, RHP Heath Bell, LHP Wade LeBlanc
Major departures: RHP Javier Vazquez, C John Baker, RHP Burke Badenhop, RHP Chris Volstad

Probable lineup
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
3. Hanley Ramirez, 3B
4. Giancarlo Stanton, RF (a.k.a. Mike Stanton)
5. Logan Morrison, LF
6. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
7. John Buck, C
8. Omar Infante, 2B

Probable rotation
1. Josh Johnson
2. Mark Buehrle
3. Anibal Sanchez
4. Ricky Nolasco
5. Carlos Zambrano

Wade LeBlanc is the injury replacement.

Back-end bullpen
Closer: Heath Bell
Set-up: Edward Mujica, Mike Dunn

Important bench players

C Brett Hayes, IF Greg Dobbs, OF Scott Cousins, OF Bryan Petersen

Prospect to watch
For this year, there really aren't many guys on the radar ready to jump in and immediately help. Third base prospect Matt Dominguez is in Triple-A, but he's now blocked by one of the team leaders in Hanley Ramirez. All the other highly-ranked Marlins prospects are in the lower-levels of the minors. So we'll go with Dominguez here for this reason: Should he have a big first three months in Triple-A while the Marlins are in the thick of the pennant race, he makes for good trade bait at the deadline. Maybe they could use him to upgrade the bridge to Heath Bell or even as part of a package to landing a really good center fielder.

Fantasy breakout: Logan Morrison
"Morrison's track record suggests both his walk rate and BABIP should rebound, and in fact, his .268 BABIP from a year ago looks like the result of some horrendously bad luck. He is a strong bet to improve on his OBP and, at worst, maintain the home run power he displayed in 2011. Add in some improvement and subtract out his minor league demotion and DL time from last season, and Morrison suddenly profiles as a No. 3 mixed league OF." - Al Melchior [Full Marlins team fantasy preview]

Fantasy bounce-back: Hanley Ramirez
"Ramirez had a miserable first half last season, and just when he started to get untracked, he suffered a shoulder injury that led to season-ending surgery. As the season progressed, Ramirez adjusted and started hitting more line drives and flyballs, and his batting average and power numbers rose accordingly. Even though his overall stats were pale compared to his norms, a good sign for Ramirez was that his home run per flyball rate was not much lower than usual." - Al Melchior [Full Marlins team fantasy preview]

Optimistic outlook
Everyone behaves, Ramirez and Johnson stay healthy and have big seasons while the youngsters (Stanton, Morrison) develop into stars. Especially now that there are two wild cards, the Marlins have a great shot at the playoffs with this group. And once you get there, anything can happen, so I'd say an optimistic outlook has them winning the third World Series in franchise history. If you look at the upside in the offense and rotation in particular, it's hard to argue against a best-case scenario being a championship. Then again ...

Pessimistic outlook
Utter disaster. The club doesn't respond to Guillen, Johnson injures his arm again, Zambrano melts down, Morrison quibbles with management over Twitter, Ramirez starts slow and demands a trade due to wanting to play shortstop again ... you get it. I can't think of another club with such high-peak and low-valley potential entering the 2012 season. This group of personalities could be the new Bronx Zoo champion or a catastrophic mix on the field that finishes last. Almost literally, anything could happen. As I said in the intro, it certainly won't be boring. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 3:11 pm
 

Marlins' Ramirez says he's fine with move to 3B

Hanley Ramirez

By C. Trent Rosecrans


All the angst about Hanley Ramirez moving to third base? Apparently that's over.

"I never said I'm not going to do it," Ramirez told reporters at Marlins camp, including Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post. "I'm just happy to be here, be back in the spring with my guys, my teammates, everybody's happy. That's what we need. We got to stay together through the year. We're looking good. This is the best team I have been on in six years with the Marlins."

Ramirez took grounders at third base on Tuesday and said he should have no problems making the switch, necessitated by the Marlins' signing of shortstop Jose Reyes.

"Nothing at all," Ramirez said when asked what the biggest challenge would be. "Just catch the ball and throw the ball."

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Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:44 am
 

Hanley Ramirez: '3B with Marlins forever baby'

By Matt Snyder

Thankfully, we're getting very close to putting this Hanley Ramirez-moving-to-third drama to bed. Earlier this week, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said Ramirez wasn't "100 percent" OK with the move, which is being made to accomodate Jose Reyes at shortstop. Guillen did say he felt Ramirez would be fine by opening day and that he thought any star wouldn't immediately be happy with changing positions.

It would appear Guillen was correct, as Ramirez now sounds completely on board with a move, seemingly in reaction to an opinion piece from a newspaper.

Responding to a column from a Dominican newspaper ("Hoy") where the writer said Ramirez's friendship with Reyes will inevitably be damaged -- in addition to claiming the Marlins signed Reyes to give them an excuse to rid themselves of an "immature" Ramirez -- Ramirez took to Twitter.

”Folks, via this medium I want to let everyone know that what came out in the newspaper Hoy about me, the team and Guillen is a lie,” Ramirez tweeted (in spanish, but translated by SunSentinel.com).

More: “And now what are you going to talk about if the whole world knows I’m going to play third base with the Marlins.” (in spanish, but translated by SunSentinel.com)

More: “Trying to soil my image with lies. Third base with the Marlins forever baby.” (in spanish, but translated by SunSentinel.com)

Finally, Ramirez tweeted a picture of himself sitting next to Reyes with both men smiling. I'm kind of surprised they weren't hugging.

It's good that Ramirez is embracing his move to third base, as well he should. It's the professional thing to do, and frankly, it will benefit him defensively. But in regards to him being angry people are talking about it, he needs to realize his manager is the one who fanned the flames earlier this week.

But now we know: Hanley Ramirez is happy and ready to play. So we can all move on.

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 11:17 am
 

Guillen: Hanley not '100 percent' OK with move

By Matt Snyder

While it made the offense much stronger, the signing of star shortstop Jose Reyes caused some drama for the newly-named Miami Marlins this winter. That's because, as we all know, the Marlins already had a star shortstop: Hanley Ramirez. The signing of Reyes pushed Ramirez to third base, though there were rumors floating around the Winter Meetings that Ramirez had demanded a trade. Those turned out to be false, but evidently he still isn't exactly happy about the move.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen point blank, almost emphatically, said, "no," when asked if Ramirez was "100 percent on board" with the move to third base. He didn't even hesitate, also saying that Ramirez was upset with having to change positions. Guillen did say, however, he expects Ramirez to be 100 percent OK with the move by the time they play St. Louis (opening day of the regular season) and that everyone should "just let it be."

Here's the entire video of Guillen discussing the situation, shot by Miami Herald writer Clark Spencer:



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Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:38 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 12:48 pm
 

Showtime series to feature Guillen's Marlins

Ozzie Guillen

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Let the Ozzie show begin.

The Miami Marlins will be featured in this season of Showtime's The Franchise, MLB and the network announced on Monday. Last year the Giants were featured in the six-episode show that followed the Giants from spring training through the season.

The Marlins  are the perfect choice for the series, with not only new manager Ozzie Guillen, but also a new ballpark, new uniforms and new stars in Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. Throw the ever-volatile Carlos Zambrano into the mix and you may have some television magic.

The 2012 version of the series has already started filming. The Miami Herald reported last week that a camera crew from Major League Baseball filmed the team's meeting with free-agent Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes last week in Miami, while Monday's release from MLB and Showtime noted the production has already begun.

The Marlins seem ideal for the task, just looking at the players on the team, and their new manager.

While Guillen will get plenty of face time to be sure, there's also several other entertaining players on the team. Outfielder Logan Morrison has made more of a name for himself with his antics on Twitter than his play on the field, while Bell is one of the game's great characters.

Then there's real-life baseball reasons to follow -- how will Hanley Ramirez take to moving to third base? How about Josh Johnson's return from shoulder inflammation that cost him the majority of 2011. And then there's just the sheer baseball thrill of watching Mike Stanton, one of the best young players in the game. Add a new park, new expectations and the fact that the pay-cable channel won't bleep Guillen and the Marlins were easily the best choice for Showtime -- and the viewers.

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Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:10 am
 

Under-30 players building Hall of Fame foundation



By Matt Snyder


T-minus two days until the Hall of Fame vote for the 2012 induction is unveiled, so we'll continue talking about the Hall of Fame in this relatively slow time of the year. This time around, we'll take a look at active players younger than 30 who have laid a foundation that makes a run to Cooperstown possible.

Now, make no mistake about it, none of these players are close to having completed their big-league careers nor are they currently close to being locks to the Hall of Fame. Still, some are well on their way and others have started a journey that may push them into the discussion in a decade or so.

Obviously things could change in just one season -- just take a look below at a certain catcher from Minnesota. Or think about how good it looked for Grady Sizemore three years ago at this time before injuries completely derailed him. And we have to understand that just a few seasons of being an elite player doesn't necessarily mean the longevity will be there -- take the cases of Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden, for example. For various reasons, careers can get off track. Still, it's fun to take a look at which young players have built a possible Hall-of-Fame foundation.

By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are 20 under-30 guys who could be on the right track, in alphabetical order (age in parentheses):

Hall of Fame coverage
Miguel Cabrera (28) - The first name we list might well be the most impressive case on here. In eight full seasons (he appeared in 87 games as a rookie) Cabrera has been an All-Star six times and finished in the top five of MVP voting five times. He's hit .317/.395/.555, which is good for a 149 OPS-plus. Saying Cabrera is just about halfway through his career is probably reasonable and he already has 277 homers and 984 RBI.

Robinson Cano (29) - He wouldn't have appeared on this list until the past two seasons, but Cano has grown into one of the more dangerous hitters in baseball. He'd need to continue this pace for another six to eight years at least before being a Hall candidate, though.

Prince Fielder (27) - Six full seasons -- with 39 games in '05 -- have yielded 230 homers and 656 RBI. Fielder also has an impressive .390 on-base percentage and a whopping .929 OPS (143 OPS-plus). He's already finished in the top four of MVP voting three times. Can his robust body hold up long-term? If it does, he's probably headed to Cooperstown. Baseball-Reference.com's top similar statistical player through age 27 is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray.

Adrian Gonzalez (29) - Did he get started too late? Gonzalez didn't become a full-timer until '06 and wasn't a dominant force until '09. Still, four All-Star Games, three Gold Gloves and two Top 10 finishes in MVP voting. He also has a career .889 OPS (140 OPS-plus) and over 1,100 hits already.

Felix Hernandez (25) - We've seen so many pitchers flame out over the years after huge starts -- I mentioned two in the intro -- but King Felix basically only needs to stay healthy and keep his head on straight. He's already 85-67 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 1,264 strikeouts. He has one Cy Young and also finished second once. And he could conceivably pitch 15 more seasons. Even conservatively -- assuming health -- you have to say he has 12 more in him.

Matt Kemp (27) - After a runner-up finish in MVP voting this past season, Kemp inked a huge contract with the Dodgers. He could be the face of the franchise for a decade. The power-speed combo (128 HR, 144 steals) along with a Gold Glove shows he can do it all.

Clayton Kershaw (23) - He went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, 248 strikeouts, an All-Star appearance and a Cy Young award last season. At 23. Enough said.

Tim Lincecum (27) - Two Cy Youngs, four All-Star appearances and a World Series ring so far. Not too shabby. Like Hernandez, Kershaw and all other great young pitchers, health and avoiding major off-field trouble are the biggest roadblocks. But there is serious foundation and talent here. I wouldn't bet against Lincecum. 

Evan Longoria (26) - He's going to be the face of the Rays for a long time and his arrival coincided with them shedding the laughingstock label. The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year has three All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. His 136 OPS-plus bodes well. But his average dropped 50 points last season. Harbinger or aberration? I'd guess the latter.

Joe Mauer (28) - Would've seemed a lot more firm here last year at this time. The disaster of a season doesn't erase the amazing good Mauer did through the first six-plus seasons in his career, but it raises health questions moving forward. His bat means a whole lot less if he's playing first base instead of catching.

Andrew McCutchen (25) - He already has 95 doubles, 19 triples, 51 homers and 78 stolen bases. He has an .822 OPS (123 OPS-plus). What if he gets even better and is the driving force behind a complete Pirates turnaround?

Dustin Pedroia (28) - The 2007 Rookie of the Year followed up that act with a 2008 MVP. He's hitting .305/.373/.463 in his six-year career, while he's also won a World Series ring, two Gold Gloves and been to the All-Star Game three times.

Hanley Ramirez (28) - He would've been one of the best bets two years ago, but he's now mired in a two-year decline. Goes to show how quickly things can change. Of course, there's plenty of time to get back to 2007-09 form.

Jose Reyes (28) - In six "full" seasons (we'll say at least 125 games played), Reyes has been among the best players in baseball. There's no questioning that. Can he stay on the diamond enough to make himself a viable Hall candidate? It doesn't look great, but the talent is there.

Troy Tulowitzki (27) - Tulowitzki brings in three straight top-eight finishes in MVP voting and is the premier defensive shortstop in the National League. He really only has four seasons worth counting toward a possible Hall induction so far, though, so he's gonna need about eight to 10 more.

Justin Upton (24) - The potential here is insane. He came in fourth in MVP voting last season and should only get better. Again, there are many ways for younger players to derail, but Upton has all the tools to one day hit Cooperstown. Consider me a believer.

Justin Verlander (28) - Yes, he's only 28. Verlander already has 107 wins, 1,215 strikeouts, four All-Star appearances (that is, he made the team, not pitched in the game), a Cy Young and, yes, an AL MVP. He was already one of the better aces in baseball, but then went into a new stratosphere last season. If that continues, he's a cinch to make the Hall. We'll see.

Joey Votto (28) - In just four full seasons, Votto has made a name for himself as a marquee slugger. He won the 2010 MVP and followed it up with a stellar 2011 campaign as well. His career .955 OPS (151 OPS-plus) is incredible and he added a Gold Glove last season, too.

Jered Weaver (29) - Weaver was quietly really good until last season, and you can now drop the "quietly." He was the All-Star Game starter and could have easily won the Cy Young Award, if Verlander didn't happen to be putting up a historic season in the same league. In six seasons, Weaver is 82-47 with a 3.31 ERA and 977 strikeouts. Considering his age, though, this is a pretty tall order. He'll need another eight years of dominance, I'd guess.

David Wright (29) - I think I would have felt pretty good about him after 2008, but he's fallen off a slight bit since then. Perhaps the change in the ballpark dimensions helps, in addition to some health -- for himself and teammates. Wright does already have five All-Star appearances and a .300/.380/.508 line with 183 homers and 151 steals.



I think my four best bets right now would be, in no particular order: Verlander, Cabrera, Hernandez and Upton. Could be a lot more, could be a lot less. All 20 of these guys have plenty of time to either build a resume or screw it up. History tells us there's no chance all 20 make the cut, and even guessing half of these guys getting to Cooperstown is a big stretch.

Feel free to add more names in the comments, as there definitely isn't a wrong answer in this department.

Coming Sunday: "Asterisk" guys with Hall-type resumes
Monday: 2012 Hall of Fame inductee(s) announced
Monday: Looking ahead at the 2013 first-year eligibles
Monday: Looking at the '14, '15 and '16 first-year eligibles

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 4:30 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 4:34 pm
 

Hanley Ramirez sounds OK with position change



By Matt Snyder


Has new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen successfully completed his first tough task as a manager? It sure sounds like it.

After the Marlins acquired shortstop Jose Reyes with a fat free agency contract, speculation swirled that incumbent shortstop Hanley Ramirez was angry with the situation -- and one report even suggested he demanded a trade. So Guillen was tasked with making Ramirez comfortable with the move. And here's a quote from Ramirez which directly covers the situation (from elnuevoherald.com via MLBTradeRumors.com):

"I've talked with Guillen, and what we both want is to win with the Marlins. When January arrives, we'll see what happens with the position change and everything else. If it's at third, fine. Wherever they put me, I'll do it in order to win."

So, at least for the time being, it sounds like Ramirez is going to move to third and be a team player.

Assuming everyone is healthy (and, yes, happy), the Marlins appear to have a pretty stout lineup. If no more moves are made, the opening day lineup could be:

More Marlins
1. Reyes, SS
2. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
3. Ramirez, 3B
4. Mike Stanton, RF
5. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
6. Logan Morrison, LF
7. Omar Infante, 2B
8. John Buck, C
9. Josh Johnson, SP

That's strong. Of course, the NL East looks to be very tough this season, as the Nationals are also on the rise and the Phillies and Braves both look to remain toward the top of the division. It's looking like the fourth-place team in the division is going to be a very good one.

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Posted on: December 21, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Former manager questions Marlins' moves

Edwin Rodriguez

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Even before the Marlins signed Jose Reyes, the questions about Hanley Ramirez's willingness to move to third base were raised. And since Miami signed Reyes, those questions have remained unanswered.

There's been speculation, of course, but there's only been cryptic Twitter responses from Ramirez himself.

At this month's winter meetings in Dallas, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen did his best to put aside the rumblings that Ramirez would refuse to move from shortstop and create a problem -- "I only care about what Hanley says on Feb. 20, when we start spring training," Guillen said earlier this month. "I mean, from now on, people can say whatever."

One of the people saying "whatever" is former Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez, who spoke to MLB Network Radio on Wednesday about Ramirez and third base.

"I think it's going to be [a] very interesting situation to say the least," Rodriguez told Jim Memolo and Todd Hollandsworth (via the Sun Sentinel). "Knowing Hanley, he's a very proud player. It's going to be very hard for him to move out of shortstop. He's a big league shortstop. He's an All-Star shortstop. In my opinion I think they are going to have a tough time trying to convince him to move to third base. Even if he does that, move to third base, beginning of the season, I think it's going to be very interesting to watch how everything develops, how Reyes takes the front pages and how the people start talking about the All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes. It will be very interesting to see how Hanley will handle all that."

Rodriguez, also said he thought it was a mistake to sign Reyes instead of using that money to increase the offer to Albert Pujols.

That said, Rodriguez, who will manage in the Indians' minor-league system next year, said he believed the Marlins were approaching Ramirez's move the right way and if Ramirez buys in, it would be a successful move.

Ramirez backed Rodriguez before the Marlins replaced him with Jack McKeon.

Ramirez will be 28 on Friday, which is the same age Alex Rodriguez was when he traded from Texas to the Yankees. As good as Ramirez is, he's not as good as Rodriguez or as good defensively as Reyes. At some point, you'd hope he'd just set aside his pride and play the position that gives his team the best chance to win. With Reyes on board, that's third base.

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