The Battle For Short In Miami

Now that Miami has signed shortstop Jose Reyes, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez may demand a trade.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Uh oh. Stop the press. Could it be? Is it possible that someone would actually want to leave South Beach? Even with a new ballpark and manager, the signing of Jose Reyes might have already caused quite a negative stir in Miami due to the un-satisfaction of their star player, Hanley Ramirez. I can’t say I am surprised.

Last month I predicted the Marlins would sign Reyes and that Hanley Ramirez would probably want a trade shortly following. Right now I’m one for two, and soon I could make good on that prediction 100%.

Quickly following the Reyes announcement, I was surprised to read that Ramirez was planning on moving to third base. It seemed significantly too easy, especially from a player that had so much trouble with management and the clubhouse last season. After all the shenanigans during 2011, I found it hard to believe that Hanley would feel so comfortable switching spots, especially since it would essentially be a hit to his ever-so-soft ego by giving up his spot to an arguably better player who won the battle title last year. Looks like it may have been the Marlins front office speaking on his behalf.

Although the Marlins are knocking down all the rumors, reports are swirling that Ramirez not only wants a trade, but that he won’t leave the shortstop position.

The only piece of evidence that we can conclude anything from as of right now is Hanley’s conspicuous Twitter update that read “What I am gonna do is work hard and get ready for next season because that is the only thing I can control.” Not a negative statement by any means. However, it’s obvious this statement isn’t a beam of  glimmering hope either.

So what happens if Hanley demands a trade? Who are the suitors? Even though Hanley only hit .243 last year during an injury plagued, and apathetic season, he could very well be in line for a huge bounce-back year, given he plays under the right people (yes, I’m saying it. He needs a father figure around). Hanley is a career .306 hitter and averages around 25 home runs to go along with speed amongst the base paths.

The only teams with shortstop openings that could possibly afford the former MVP candidate include the Brewers, Cardinals, Giants, Mariners and Reds. All of them I could see signing him, especially the Brewers. Milwaukee will most likely lose Fielder and they have no one at shortstop after letting go Yuniesky Betancourt. And if the Cardinals lose Pujols they will have a ton of cap room. A TON.

Don’t be shocked if we see Hanley Ramirez in a new uniform by March. Don’t be stunned to see him in the NL central. And be a little surprised if he stays a Marlin.