Marlins should keep Hanley, fire Fredi

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Well, not today. Hanley Ramirez’s lack of hustle and subsequent rant about his manager’s qualifications shouldn’t be rewarded. Manager Fredi Gonzalez undoubtedly made the right call in benching Ramirez after Monday’s incident, and further punishing the shortstop by sitting him down for a game or two seems like the right call.
Let’s face it, though: Ramirez is the best thing the Marlins have going for them. As a 26-year-old shortstop with a career .315/.386/.528 line, 110 homers and 167 steals already to his credit, he’s on a Hall of Fame path. And while some have questioned his work ethic, he’s made obvious gains in his play at shortstop over the last couple of years. After 2007, I would have advocated moving him to center field. Now it looks like he’s going to last at shortstop for several more years before probably moving to third sometime in his thirties.
Gonzalez just isn’t an important piece. I wrote last October that replacing him with Bobby Valentine was a good idea. He’s a generic manager with no creativity. He knows what he wants when it comes to every role on the club, so it doesn’t matter whether he has the right personnel or not. As long as a player looks like he should be a No. 2 hitter or a shutdown closer, it’s unimportant if he can actually do the job or not. It’s more about looking the part.
That’s not to say he’s all bad. But he’s is replaceable, and now that he’s lost the respect of the main man in the clubhouse, it’s only a matter of time before he is, in fact, replaced. It can’t be this week and probably not this month. But if the Marlins are still hanging around the .500 mark by mid-June, odds are that he’ll go.