Ozzie Guillen met with Hanley Ramirez earlier this week and indicated afterward that he’s open to the Marlins’ star shortstop possibly switching positions.
“I just got there and I just want him on the field no matter where,” Guillen told Adam Berry of MLB.com. “If he has to be a shortstop, it’s shortstop. If he has to be somewhere else, I just want this kid to be on the field every day.”
Ramirez missed 70 games with back and shoulder injuries this season, but unless they sign or trade for a veteran shortstop it seems unlikely that the Marlins would move him in 2012.
Defense at shortstop has never been his strength, but much of Ramirez’s value comes from having an elite bat for the position. If he bounces back offensively following a career-worst season Ramirez’s bat will be plenty good no matter where he plays defensively, but the difference between shortstop and, say, third base would be significant.
Ramirez joined the Marlins in 2006 and since then his .889 OPS leads all MLB shortstops and only Troy Tulowitzki (.869) is within 50 points. On the other hand, during that same time period Ramirez’s same .889 OPS would rank just third-best among third basemen and there are seven different players within 50 points of him at the position.
Shortstops who hit like Ramirez are incredibly rare, so unless the Marlins think he’s a disaster defensively or can’t possibly stay healthy there it makes sense to hold off on any potential switch.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.