Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hanley Ramirez Underscores the New Dodger Era

     By Ross Newhan

     Quietly, efficiently and, yes, stunningly, Guggenheim Baseball underscored the Dodgers new era with the acquisition of Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins.

     Once one of the most talented and multi-faceted players in baseball (he stole 51 bases each of his first two years and was National League Rookie of the Year in 2006), Ramirez has not come back to his MVP caliber form of 2009 when he was second in voting while batting an NL high .342, but he is still only 28 and could find the change of venue to be an elixer.

     He is leaving one of the year's most disappointing teams for one of the most surprising, and should enhance the Dodgers' division and/or wild card bids, no matter if he plays shortstop or third base or where he bats in relation to Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, although he brings sub-par numbers, which include a .246 batting average with 14 homers, 48 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases.

    Clearly, sub-par or not, the Dodgers will welcome the package, which includes a financial obligation of about $38 million over the next 2 1/2 years and an occasional display of temperament, although this Ramirez is no Manny Ramirez.

    In addition, the Dodgers acquired in Randy Choate another left handed reliever in the deal, a needed and always valuable commodity. Left handed hitters are batting only .150 against the veteran Choate.

   The deal cost the Dodgers a talented young pitcher in Nathan Eovaldi, who at 22 could be given the time to develop by the Marlins, but Guggenheim may not be through.

   The Dodgers are not completely out of the Ryan Dempster picture, although Dempster's Cubs and the Atlanta Braves have agreed on a deal that would send pitching prospect Randall Delgado to Chicago. Dempster, however, has veto rights as a plater with 10 years in the majors and five with the same club, and has yet to approve the move to Atlanta. All indications are that he would prefer the Dodgers, although it is not clear that the Dodgers will meet the Cubs' price, which includes Zach Lee, the top pitching prospect in an L.A. system otherwise comparatively barren.              

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