On The Franchise, Showtime's series following the Marlins this season, GM Michael Hill recently had this to say about the team's core, lead by Hanley Ramirez: "The veterans have crapped all over themselves."
That smack-down may not have been the best strategy for pumping up Ramirez's trade value, but it was a pretty good hint about Hill's plans. The AP this morning reports the Fish have traded the face of the franchise to the Dodgers for a pitching prospect and another minor leaguer.
Ramirez has been the most disappointing member of a crushingly mediocre team that was supposed to win fans to the brand new Marlins Park. Maybe he felt the weight of trying to justify a $500 million taxpayer boondoggle. Maybe he just never found his stroke this year.
Whatever the reason, Ramirez is hitting just .247 with 14 homers and 47 RBIs, miles away from his batting title-winning season in 2009, when he clubbed 24 home runs and batted almost a hundred points higher at .342.
The details of the trade are still fuzzy, but the AP reports the Marlins will get 22-year-old pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, a prospect who has made his debut in the Bigs this year with a 1-6 record and a 4.15 ERA.
The Dodgers also pick up reliable reliever Randy Choate and will ship an unnamed minor leaguer to the Marlins.
The deal is a shockingly abrupt end to one of the most up-and-down careers in MLB history. Ramirez came to the Marlins in the 2005 deal with the Red Sox for Josh Beckett and immediately starting stroking the ball, whacking 185 hits as a rookie the next year.
Over the next four years, Ramirez made three All Star teams and won the 2009 batting title and Silver Slugger, and signed a six-year, $70 million contract to make him the highest paid Marlin ever.
But through it all, Ramirez was often an enigma and sometimes blatantly dogged it on the field. The tendency came to a head in 2010, when then-manager Fredi Gonzalez benched the star after he kicked a ball in the field then jogged it down into a corner.
When Gonzalez was canned after the season, many saw Ramirez asserting his power in the organization.
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This year, the would-be powerhouse tandem of Ramirez and shortstop Jose Reyes has mostly fizzled, though we did get the highlight of the pair dying their hair orange together in a show of bro-dom.
Ramirez's departure this morning is the final, brutal nail in the coffin of this massive disappointment of a season.
There has to be some way to recall David Samson, too, right?