In December of 2011, emboldened by a colorful, exciting rebranding and a colorful, exciting, publicly funded stadium, the Miami Marlins signed the jewel of the 2011-12 free-agent class, shortstop Jose Reyes. Miami made room for Reyes by moving franchise shortstop Hanley Ramirez over to third base.
Had Reyes not signed, the Marlins could have used strong-armed, sure-handed former first-round draft pick Matt Dominguez at third base in 2012. Dominguez was already one of the top defensive prospects at his position. But with Ramirez holding down the position, Dominguez spent most of 2012 in AAA. Then, on July 4, the Marlins, for some reason, traded him and pitcher Rob Rasmussen to Houston for Carlos Lee.
Even granting that Astros GM Jeff Luhnow is reputed to be one of the brighter guys in the game, and that the long-term rebuilding project he’s undertaken in Houston affords him the ability to take some risks, it looked like a good deal for Houston. After all, Dominguez, who twice appeared on the Baseball America Top 100, was about to turn 23, and the Astros got him for the last couple squirts from the ketchup bottle of Lee’s career.
We've officially entered the crazy times leading up to baseball's trade deadline. Luckily, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark is on the case. He and Jonah Keri break down the big moves of the past 24 hours, including Cole Hamels's new mega-contract with the Phillies, Hanley Ramirez's trade to the Dodgers, and the Pirates(!) making a go-for-it move in landing Wandy Rodriguez. Also discussed: the Rangers-Angels arms race, the Yankees' injury woes, and the status of Zack Greinke, James Shields, Matt Garza, Chase Headley, and other fine, baseball-playing blokes.
"We have certain veterans who we thought would carry us in Hanley [Ramirez] and [Jose] Reyes, and that the kids would take that next step. [Giancarlo] Stanton, to his credit, is for the most part taking that step, but [Logan Morrison] has not, and the veterans have crapped all over themselves." — Michael Hill, Miami Marlins general manager on Showtime's The Franchise: A Season With the Miami Marlins
And like that the dream of a championship season in the Marlins' new, taxpayer-funded, $634 million stadium was gone.
The latest amputation from the Marlins' roster came last night, when Miami traded Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Dodgers for Nate Eovaldi and Scott McGough. Ignoring the broad strokes of the Marlins' grand offseason plan for a moment, how you feel about this trade should hinge on how you feel about present-day Hanley Ramirez.
Sure. Why not? I wonder if Hanley Ramirez, who posted this photo to his Twitter account, has a favorite Nirvana song. "Pay to Play," probably. (Just kidding.) Seriously though, Jay-Z looks like he has no idea who Hanley Ramirez is.