Making his BFN debut, welcome Dan Roach…
Admittedly as a Red Sox fan the first couple of days dealing with the Hanley Ramirez news involved a lot of tears and cursing the names of Dave Dombrowski, John Henry, Alex Cora et al to hell. However, when the cheeks had dried up and red mist had cleared it became increasingly obvious that it indeed was the right baseball decision (who would have thought all the big heads knew better than me?!) Despite no trade being sorted within the week I do believe that Hanley still has a place on a Major League roster and that a suitor will indeed snaffle him up. Let’s have a look at some potential new landing spots for Hanley.
Seattle’s recent surge towards the top of the AL West and into the second wild card spot has made the task of tooling up a clear priority. Jerry Dipoto has already lead the charge with this year’s first big mid-season trade and it’s evident he means business in 2018, despite the non-waiver trade deadline being nearly two months away.
So far this season the Mariners have shown a severe lack of power at the plate sitting 11th in the AL in homers, and although Nelson Cruz has hit 10 of those his .239 BA and .773 OPS (before last nights rather inconveniently impressive day at the plate, done solely to scupper my lovely stats) are his lowest such marks in over 10 years. Maybe Nelly’s inevitable regression has finally started to manifest, and for it to be in the year in which his team are going for it is not ideal.
The lack of production from DH as well as1B not providing the power the position demands (11 HRs from Ryon Healy, Dan Vogelbach and Tyler Motter this year) as well as the added naughtiness from Robinson Cano makes picking up Ramirez and his big bat an increasingly attractive move.
Suggesting the Astros need to improve their lineup might seem both absurd and more than a little scary, however with the aforementioned Mariners breathing down their necks picking up Hanley could be a clever bit of business.
If one position in this lineup could be described as weak it would be 1B – averaging .656 OPS and hitting only 6 HRs from the position between Yuli Gurriel, Marwin González J.D. Davis. Gurriel could maybe benefit from some off days as well – taking his first game off last night since April 22nd.
Having regularly enjoyed the sight of his home runs sail over the Green Monster it doesn’t take an expert to see how well Hanley’s pull heavy power approach would look just as impressive arcing over those train tracks (and disturbingly large oranges). Despite the new rivalry I think it’s more than likely that Alex Cora will get on the blower to sing the praises of Hanley to his old boss and friend A.J. Hinch. Sign him up!
If a one team knows about the struggle for power in 2018 it’s Minnesota, and they certainly weren’t expecting that to be the case in the Twin Cities.
Logan Morrison has stunk – .358 SLG and 6 HRs so far in 2018, compared to .544 and double the amount of homers at the same point last year. Now to expect the same kind of production from Logan as last year would be foolish, however when your team is sitting 26th in the league in homers then it’s all the more bitter pill to swallow.
Although Joe Mauer is expected to return to action this weekend he doesn’t help solve the power drought and Ramirez’s addition would also bring a juicy right handed bat to platoon with Morrison and Mauer at 1B/DH.
If there’s one thing Cleveland has in abundance, apart from god awful QBs and teams carried by Lebron, it’s left handed bats. Other than Edwin Encarnacion, they really have no big hitter from the right hand side, with Francisco Lindor and José Ramirez hitting only 6 of their combined 32 HRs from the right side of the plate. The remedy – big bashing right handed Hanley boy.
Although Cleveland finally look to be pulling way from the frankly dreadful looking pack in the AL central, adding Hanley’s right sided power to platoon 1B with Yonder Alonso (.834 OPS vs. RHP compared to .695 vs. LHP this year) and keeping Edwin safely off the field still makes a lot of sense.
True, Cleveland’s right handed (and hit by pitch) specialist bat Brandon Guyer (.569 OPS) is looking to return to fitness this weekend, however as far as a bench bat goes Hanley has a much sexier look to him.
Yes I am aware that the Phillies are a National League team, and yes I am aware what the rules are in the said league, but bear with me here.
It’s no secret Carlos Santana has struggled in Philadelphia, and though his May has looked a lot more like what was paid for (7 HRs and a .967 OPS), some relief at 1B might be what’s needed for the Dominican to really thrive in his new home and get that smooth swing going (yes, that was a Carlos Santana pun). Rhys Hoskins would be the natural man to fulfil this role but he rather unfortunately (and impressively) managed to crack his own jaw with a foul ball this week and it’s looking likely that he will miss a couple weeks at least.
With the Phillies looking more and more like the real deal Hanley could also help take another vital role – clubhouse veteran. Philadelphia had the youngest average aged roster on opening day at 26.92 years (nearly 2 years below the league average of 28.91) and with post-season games being the very real goal the presence of a guy who’s been there and done that (along with Santana and Jake Arrieta) would prove invaluable.
Honourable Mention – Orioles
If there’s one team that knows it’s way around a player like Hanley then it’s the Orioles.
He possesses all the qualities Buck looks for in a position player – sub-par UZR, honestly quite scary platoon splits, and a real ‘all or quite literally nothing’ approach at the plate. Let’s all be honest, who wouldn’t love to see the right handed yin to Chris Davis‘s yang platooning at first – come on Buck, give the people of Baltimore at least something fun to watch for the rest of the year! And let’s face it, when Pedro Álvarez is statistically your best option at 1B then why the hell not?!
(This last paragraph was extremely harrowing for me to write and I’d like to apologise profusely to Hanley’s mother, it was purely in the interest of balance and parity. I still adore and admire your little boy like only, well, you could…)
Now it’s quite possible that my gross bias has clouded my better judgement here and Hanley simply packs it all in after not finding a team, however, I think we can all agree that watching that helmet getting flung from such a beautifully dreadlocked bonce is a sight that would be sorely missed from the game – whatever the logo on the front.