There has been a lot of talk over the past season of the Mariners potentially striking a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers to bring Matt Kemp to Seattle. And while the Dodgers still have a surplus of outfielders, it’s possible that the right-handed stick the Mariners have been searching for is actually that of a shortstop…..Dodgers free agent Hanley Ramirez.
Of course, the Mariners have a backlog of shortstops in the organization, so on the surface, signing Ramirez doesn’t make a lot of sense.
But let’s take a look and see if we can make heads or tails of it after all.
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Han-Ram is a three-time All-Star, former Rookie of the Year and two-time Silver Slugger award winner. He is a career .300 hitter (on the dot) with career on base and slugging of .373 and .500 respectively.
He averages 20 HR and 65 RBI a year and has a career OPS+ of 132.
He could play shortstop, be converted to play first base or could be the team’s DH. Only time in the process will tell if Hanley would consider moving across the diamond or into a full-time DH at only 31 (turns 31 this December).
He’s not the fielder he once was and he was never a great fielder. He has a career .967 fielding percentage, higher than both Chris Taylor and Brad Miller. But both Taylor and Miller are young and still learning. Ramirez should be at his peak currently.
He has spent some time at 3rd base, which would be a nice fit, but the Mariners have Kyle Seager and no desire to ask him to go across the diamond.
He has dealt with some injuries the past two seasons that has forced him to miss significant time. It’s almost certainly true that becoming a DH would lessen the toll on his body and extend his career, but yet again, we don’t know if he would be open to it.
One final roadblock would be the cost. Not only the salary that he is looking for – a multi-year deal worth upwards of $18 million per year – but also the qualifying offer that the Dodgers tacked on him.
The $15.3 million offer may be the best he gets given the draft pick that a signing team would have to forfeit to get him. Han-Ram may just take the offer and hope to have a bounce back season in 2015 and command a large contract in 2016.
So, where does he fit in?
If the M’s even decide to make an offer to Hanley Ramirez, it would most likely to be as their DH. I suppose they could be willing to offer him a multi-year contract, trade Miller or Taylor in a package for another bat and hope Ramirez stays healthy. I just don’t see Seattle doing that.
Although Ramirez could very well be the right-handed bat the Mariners are looking for, there seem to be a lot of question marks surrounding his signing. He could provide a steady bat in the middle of the lineup, protection for Robinson Cano and Seager. He could also provide a hole in the lineup when he goes down with another injury.
Though, can’t that same thing be said of just about anyone? Why not take the risk?