Additional thoughts on the Marlins-Dodgers trade.By
Just as I was about to shut my laptop and get some sleep for the evening, a tweet from Jon Morosi caught my eye that contained the words “BREAKING,” “Hanley,” and “Dodgers.” After realizing that you can literally catch anyone’s attention by starting your tweets with “breaking” in all caps, the Twitterverse learned that the Marlins had sent 3B Hanley Ramirez and reliever Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers for right-handed pitchers Nate Eovaldi and Scott McGough.
Unsurprisingly, the news elicited quite the broad range of reactions on Twitter, although it has calmed down quite a bit now that we’ve learned more specific details of the trade.
I’ll get to talking about the newest Marlins, Nate Eovaldi and Scott McGough, in a second, but first let’s take a look at the biggest motivator in this deal from Miami’s perspective: money. The Dodgers will be taking on all of HanRam’s remaining salary (about $40 million over the next two seasons), which means that the Marlins have already cleared nearly $20 million off their payroll in the past week alone.
It’s possible that the Fish had the opportunity to get better players in return for Ramirez, but in all likelihood, having the option to erase him off their payroll for good was a much stronger incentive and when the Dodgers offered to pick up the tab, they pulled the trigger as fast as they could. For a guy that has posted a line of .246/.322/.430 this season, it isn’t as if his trade value was at an all-time high by any stretch of the imagination. What’s probably most fascinating is that the Marlins spent over $300 million in free agency last winter alone, yet they may have just begun the fastest turnaround to offload money that we’ve ever seen.
What has also become clear as a result of the Hanley trade, and what should be encouraging for Marlins fans everywhere, is that the front office’s chief objective in its recent sell-a-thon is adding organization depth and lots of it. Though on paper the return may seem a bit underwhelming, Nate Eovaldi is a power arm that could easily fit into the third spot in the rotation in the future, or as a late-inning reliever at the very least. His 1-6 record this season may scare some, but Eovaldi has still made big strides from 2011 by greatly improving on his walk rate (5.19 BB/9 in 2011 to 3.20 BB/9 this season) while also getting more ground balls (40.8% in 2011 to 47.8% this season).
It appears that he’ll have all the tools to succeed long-term in the Marlins’ rotation, and should be able to fill the void left by Anibal Sanchez in the short term nicely. We don’t know all that much about the other prospect included in the deal, rigthy Scott McGough, but based on his numbers and age in High-A Rancho Cucamonga, McGough’s inclusion in the trade isn’t anything to write home about.
Greg Dobbs will likely be penciled in as the starter at third base for the time being, but with the Marlins still holding another on to another potential trade chip in ace Josh Johnson, there’s a chance that the starting lineup could get shuffled again before the week is over.
Hanley Ramirez has taken all but two of his 3,669 career big league at-bats in a Marlins uniform, racking up 148 home runs, three All-Star appearances and a batting title along the way. Now, HanRam will be donning Dodger blue. Over the past several days, we gathered that pretty much everyone top-to-bottom in the Marlins’ organization was dead set on trading him. And that’s exactly what they did.