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.