|Oakland, now eyeing Ramirez, is in the market for both a shortstop and third baseman. (Getty Images)|
The initial comments from rival executives suggest the Marlins may have to do some very fancy talking to get a decent return for Hanley Ramirez, who now is on the trading block. (Scott Miller reported the Marlins are more open than ever to listening to trade offers for him.)
"I wouldn't know where to hide him," one executive said, suggesting Ramirez was neither an especially good third baseman or shortstop anymore.
"Pretty steep," said another exec of Ramirez's contract, a deal that used to be considered team-friendly.
It's not team-friendly anymore. He makes $15 million this year, $15.5 million next and $16 million the year after that.
When you go from his 2009 batting average of .342, with which he won the batting title, to .300 and then the .240s the next two years, and don't make up for it with any great change for the better in terms of power, you have an issue.
Throw in the fact he's currently out after injuring his hand hitting a fan (the mechanical kind) in anger, then compounded the injury by failing to take his medicine, leading to an infection (Ozzie Guillen likened him to a "baby" for the medicinal slip-up), and it further complicates the picture.
Since the beginning of 2011, Ramirez is hitting .245 and has an OPS of .733, very pedestrian numbers for a player who makes his living as a hitter, not a defender.
Here are a few teams that could possibly use a third baseman or shortstop, albeit one who isn't great at either spot right now.
1. A's: The amazing A's are now a serious buyer after sweeping the Yankees four straight, and shortstop would be the main spot to address, with Cliff Pennington struggling at .197 before going on the disabled list. Brandon Inge is also below .200 at third base, but he's provided a lot of clutch hits and some veteran leadership. They may make the most sense. Sources say they are in the mix. They have also looked at Chase Headley for third base and Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar and Jamey Carroll. Oakland native Jimmy Rollins could be another interesting option, if the Phillies make him available and he's willing to waive his no-trade rights.
2. Dodgers: With third baseman Juan Uribe hitting only .190, the Dodgers would seem to be a natural fit for Ramirez. They also have journeyman Luis Cruz at shortstop right now, but are planning on Dee Gordon as their shortstop of the future. They do have money and are looking for offense wherever they can get it.
3. Red Sox: They always liked Ramirez, back to when they traded him in the Josh Beckett deal. Mike Aviles has been serviceable at shortstop, and they have bigger problems (namely, starting pitching).
4. Giants: Despite finishing second in All-Star balloting, Brandon Crawford isn't exactly tearing it up. That said, they like him. And, oh yes, word is they have little money to spend. (Yes, it's a new era in San Francisco as far as the finances go.)
5. Pirates: Shortstop Clint Barmes, a rare disappointment during this terrific season in Pittsburgh, is batting .206 with five walks. Ramirez would be a big boost for the Pirates, but that's a big contract for them, too.
6. Blue Jays: They are in on everything, and word is they are ready to move on from shortstop Yunel Escobar (the A's have some interest in him, too).
7. Orioles: Mark Reynolds isn't having an overwhelming offensive season, and the Orioles have said they are buyers.