Happy Labor Day Everyone!
I think we all know that certain players have to be treated differently. In a perfect world, I would want Hanley Ramirez at 3B and Dee Gordon at SS. It ain’t gonna’ happen unless somehow someone can get Hanley to get on board with that idea. He’s not on board now. It won’t work unless he is. Hanley is a huge talent but he is very immature in many respects for a 28 (almost 29) year old. In a lot of respects he’s a little kid who plays with sheer joy… when he can play where he wants… and he wants to play SS.
In 2011, the Marlins asked him to step up and be the leader and in 2012, they asked him to play 3B – all with disastrous results. Hanley has blossomed when he came back to SS with the Dodgers – just don’t ask him to be a leader. He’s a kid. Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and quiet Adrian Gonzalez are the leaders. Hanley can be a kid… just don’t ask him to move off of SS – you won’t like the outcome. It’s called “Bad Hanley.”
It’s not like Dee Gordon is Ozzie Smith at SS. Hanley had 26, 24 and 22 errors at SS at ages 22-24. The next year he had 10. He’s not the greatest SS ever, but his body is slim and sleek and he moves very well. He also has played the position for years and has experience there. Witness the bare-handed grab yesterday and the throw out at home. If I had to choose one SS, Dee or Hanley – it would be Hanley. That’s not even a close comparison.
I know some of you won’t like the idea of playing a guy at a certain position because he will develop a bad attitude. Let me put it in perspective. Since Hanley was a little kid, he has played that position. He did play 19 games at 3B and 2B in the minors (out of 396) for some reason or the other, but in his mind, he is a short stop… his childish mind. Hanley Ramirez is an elite talent. He can hit 30 HR, steal 50 bases, drive in 100 runs, hit 48 doubles, and win a batting title. He has already done all that… and his best years could be ahead of him.
Dee Gordon has potential but he is only 4 years younger than Hanley. He has 131 major league games under his belt and has 27 errors – more than Hanley ever had in a season. I think he’s going to be a very good player. The player he most resembles to me, is Ozzie Smith. Ozzie finished his career with a .262 BA and .337 OB% and was a wizard with the glove. While maybe not quite as good as Ozzie with the glove, I believe he can be a very good defender. So far, he has shown a proclivity to make a lot of unforced errors.
Hanley Ramirez is 28 and already is a career .300 hitter who can hit cleanup or leadoff. Why mess with his head when the guy you will replace him with is obviously a step down? Someone posted the other day that they had a friend who was in a MLB team front office and they said that Hanley would not be happy playing anywhere but SS. That’s what I hear as well. That’s why Donnie Ballgame moved him there and moved Cruz to 3B.
He ain’t going back. Hanley is the Dodgers’ Shortstop NOW and in the FUTURE! Dee Gordon is a shortstop – no one on any major league team will ask him to play a position he has never played (like 2B). Dee Gordon has played SS every game in the minors and majors. The Dodgers won’t put him there this year and they will trade him in the off-season. Bet on it. I don’t know who they can get (I’d try for Wright and/or Pedroia), but you can bet they will trade him. I’m not sure what his value is. I know a lot of you are high on him. So am I. But, I’m not sure other MLB teams are so enamored with him. Hopefully, the Dodgers can find a trade partner who will give up something of value for Dee.
It all boils down to keeping an MVP – Type player happy and I vote to do that. A precedent has already been established by the Dodgers. Shane Victorino may very well be a better CF than Matt Kemp, but Matt would not be as happy playing LF or RF. The Dodgers want a Happy Matt… and a Happy Hanley. Maybe Dee can be a centerpiece in a trade for a 3B (Wright) or 2B (Pedroia) along with another prospect or two (Puig?).
I expect to see Dee soon – mostly as a pinch-runner. The Dodgers will have a huge weapon on the bench with him. Think bobby Abreu as a pinch hitter and Dee Gordon as his designated runner.