Last week, there was an armed robbery at the Major League level. I guess I should start this off by saying I hate Jeff Loria, the owner of the Marlins. He is a plague in baseball and any teams he touches turns to crap (see Montreal Expos). He gutted the Expos and now he is going to gut the Marlins now that he has his two billion dollar stadium. It’s that time of the year when top players get rented out for a few months to the super teams. Usually though it’s players who are in the last year of their contract.
Hanley Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers last week and he still has 2 years and about $36 million left on his deal. The deal was made for two reasons. First the Marlins are terrible this year and Ramirez is having his worst season as a pro. Whether this is due to a positional change or just that his skills are diminishing remains to be determined. Up until last year’s injury filled season he was one of the premier hitters in baseball. Statistically this season wasn’t that bad, his power and speed remain very good but he is definitely not as consistent at the plate.
Still though for a team like the Marlins who just got their state-of-the-art stadium and infusion of massive free agent deals, Ramirez should have been a cornerstone. He is only 28 and has been a major leaguer for seven seasons. It would be tough for me to believe that his skills have eroded so quickly. The Dodgers knew this too and seized on the opportunity quickly, giving up the 96th overall rated rated prospect and a minor league middle reliever for Ramirez and Randy Choate (who is in the middle of another quality season).
The Dodgers didn’t just fleece the Marlins, they performed the equivalent of a bank heist. I’ve heard several experts say that the Dodgers “took a risk”, that leaves me stunned. There was no risk, they got one of the best players in baseball, at a prime position, in the middle of his prime. All for a fringe major league pitcher who may or may not pan out (he’s only 22 and has been marginal at best). When I read the deal I was stunned. I just kept thinking that this was done for one reason, to take the payroll from one of the highest in baseball, down to one of the lowest.
Owners like Jeff Loria are horrible for baseball. He did in Miami what he couldn’t do in Montreal, got a stadium. Now they get the parking and concession revenue and the Miami taxpayers get the bill. Not only that, they get to watch a gutted team limp to the end of the season. Although their cupboards aren’t bare and they have some talent in the minors, its certainly not enough to help anytime soon.
Of course on the flip side, this can only help Ramirez. The Dodgers have a much bigger fan base (almost every other team in baseball has a bigger fan base) than the Marlins, which is going to do wonders for his marketing. It really is a perfect fit for Hanley, in fact I see a resurgence in his card value at least until the season is over and if he continues to perform well for the Dodgers, look for his card prices to escalate.
What is you opinion: