On Monday after a trade that sent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and infielder Omar Infante to Detroit we learned that despite their offseason free agency splurge the Marlins are ready and primed to sell. This morning in a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale we heard that the Blue Jays are interested.
With regards to a possible Hanley trade there is a few things we need to get out-of-the-way.
1. Hanley Ramirez can play shortstop
In his MLB career Hanley Ramirez has played 829 games at shortstop and looked to continue playing there until the Marlins signed Jose Reyes this offseason. The subsequent action to the Reyes signing was to move Hanley to third base.
2. Hanley Ramirez should not play shortstop
Despite playing 829 games at shortstop in his career, Hanley is really not a very good shortstop. In fact from the time of his call up until he was moved off of shortstop after the 2011 season Hanley was the second worst shortstop in the league by UZR standards and only moves up to third worst by DRS standards. Beyond that the scouts haven’t exactly been kind to Hanley either.
3. Hanley Ramiez is not a bad hitter
Over the last two years Hanley has produced a .245/.328/.405, which amounts to an even 100 wRC+. However looking at some of Hanley’s more intricate stats this year one can see that his ISO is up ~50 points to .183 or that his batted ball data is back to where it was in the early part of his career. He is replacing ground balls with fly balls while keeping a consistent line drive rate…ultimately it is producing more home runs. He has even pushed his contact rate up above his career average of 82.2%.
The thing that really seems to be hurting Hanley this year is his .271 BABIP, which is 4 points lower than it was last year and still a whole 62 points below his career average. Beyond that one might speculate that the large confines of Marlins Park may be hampering some of his offensive production.
In fact if you look at Hanley’s hits at Marlins Park and overlay them on the Rogers Centre you can see Hanley may even have had a few extra home runs if he was hitting in Toronto.
Now getting away from all the technical stuff and towards the trade itself one can see that there are definitely a few logistics that would need to be sorted out. First off the Blue Jays already have a shortstop in Yunel Escobar who is more than capable of staying at the position. Granted Yunel has produced a wRC+ of 75 that currently ranks 14th last among qualified batters and 7th last among qualified shortstops, but Yunel’s pull is his defence at SS…something Hanley somewhat lacks.
Part of what makes this trade complicated is that the Blue Jays would likely have to include Yunel in a deal, which puts Hanley at shortstop for the Blue Jays. Ideally you don’t want to put Hanley at shortstop, instead you’d like Hechavarria to be able to stick there. In order for that to happen it would require Hanley to move to another new position, second base, something he may not be too inclined to do. I’d speculate what else the Blue Jays would have to give beyond Escobar but to tell you the truth I’m not exactly sure who to include.
The reason being that on one hand Hanley seems to be an undervalued asset at this point with the way he has played and it would appear that the Marlins are selling low…assuming they don’t know anything we don’t. On the other hand despite his struggles Hanley has been the 8th best player in baseball per fWAR between 2006 and 2012. The fact that Hanley has been good in the past is why other teams like Boston, Oakland, Baltimore, and even Toronto are in the supposed bidding.
They see what Hanley can do, but the problem is they all can see it, making it a classic case of supply and demand. The supply of potential superstar players in the MLB is very low and the demand is obviously very high.
This doesn’t seem to be like the Colby Rasmus case as it appeared to the public that no one else was in on Rasmus…no one even knew Rasmus was on the market until the trade happened. With more teams in on Hanley the bidding will get higher and higher and it may come to a point where it is no longer a buy low…and not the ideal Alex Anthopoulos trade.
Beyond that when compared to the other contenders for Hanley, the Blue Jays don’t exactly line up perfectly in terms of what they have to offer.
With what all the logistics amount to a Hanley trade seems like somewhat of a pipe dream, but then again so did acquiring Colby Rasmus…so I guess we will have to wait and see.
As well like any other Blue Jays rumour this could all be hogwash and a month later we may find out that the Blue Jays were never in on Hanley at all…it could just be due diligence. Despite that it’s fun to speculate, so speculate away…just don’t get your expectations up too high and don’t let your speculation get too.
Have safe trade talk everyone…it’s what is best for us all.
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Recently it was reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the New York Mets are getting offers on pitcher Jonathan Niese with the Blue Jays among the teams interested. Niese is a 25 year old starter whose repertoire consists of a 90 mph fastball with solid command, a dominant curveball and a solid cutter and changeup. Niese’s traditional stats suggest he is somewhat of a mid to back of the rotation starter with a career 4.39 ERA and 22-23 record, but the peripheral stats suggest he is much better. Above all of this what I find particularly interesting is he seems to be Ricky Romero’s statistical twin. They are both southpaws who have similar service times (Niese at 2.107, Romero at 3.000), but there is a lot more.
For starters both Romero and Niese have the exact same career strikeout rate at 19.2% and are similar in their walk rates at 7.5% and 9.4% for Niese and Romero respectively. Beyond that Niese and Romero are also very similar in their batted ball profiles with Niese’s career numbers at a 20.5 LD%, a 49.1 GB%, and a 30.3 FB%, while Romero’s numbers are at a 17.2 LD%, a 54.7 GB%, and a 28.2 FB%. To top it off both Romero and Niese have similar home run rates at 11.8 HR/FB% and 10.7 HR/FB% in their careers.
Not only are Romero and Niese statistical twins, but Niese’s actual rate stats as well as his adjusted ERAs suggest that he is much better than he has shown, which makes him a prime trade target. Over his career Niese has consistently outperformed his ERA with a career ERA at 4.39, but with a career FIP at 3.77 and a career xFIP at 3.64. Most particularly notable is Niese’s xFIP from this past season which was at 3.28 and 1.12 points lower than his 4.40 ERA. Niese’s career low xFIP if qualified would have ranked 14th in the league between Anibal Sanchez and Dan Haren. Some of the xFIP is probably derived from Citi Field, but taking in to account that Niese is mainoly a groundball pitcher means that Citi shouldn’t affect his numbers too much.
All of this Niese hyping is nice, but really doesn’t meaning anything if he doesn’t come for the right price. On the Getting Blanked Podcast they suggested Snider plus something else, because Snider alone probably isn’t enough. I would suggest something along the lines of Travis Snider and Deck McGuire, Snider an outfielder which is something that the Mets could use and a pitching prospect who projects as a mid rotation starter. It is a steep price to pay and it could leave you with having to play Thames in LF for 2012, but for a guy who is right now an easy #3 in the AL East with his groundball style and one who could easily become a Romero 2.0, which is a very valuable commodity. Romero made the adjustments as a 25 and 26 year old pitcher, why can’t Niese?
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