Day 1 of the (latest) Jack McKeon era in Florida involved benching Hanley Ramirez, but the Marlins’ shortstop is back in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Angels.
And not only that: Ramirez is hitting cleanup for the first time in his career.
Also of note is that Marlins beat reporter Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post wrote this morning that they should trade Ramirez because “they’re a better (happier) team without him.”
Ramirez has been awful this season while playing through back problems, hitting just .200 with four homers and a .593 OPS in 55 games, but the notion that the Marlins are “a better team without him” in the long term seems fairly absurd.
Even with this year’s struggles included Ramirez has hit .306 with a .380 on-base percentage and .507 slugging percentage in 813 career games for the Marlins, averaging 25 homers and 40 steals per 160 games while posting an .886 OPS that leads all MLB shortstops during that six-year span (2006-2011):
HANLEY RAMIREZ .886
Troy Tulowitzki .856
Jose Reyes .809
Derek Jeter .805
Jimmy Rollins .780
Not only does Ramirez have the best OPS of any shortstop since 2006, including an OPS above .800 in five straight seasons, he won’t be 28 years old until December and is signed through 2014.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.