2012 Miami Marlins Transaction Review: The Hanley Ramirez Trade

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The Miami Marlins struggled so poorly in 2012 that the team decided to trade its former franchise cornerstone, Hanley Ramirez, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. How does the deal look at the end of 2012, and what are its prospects going forward?

The Miami Marlins' struggles in 2012 convinced the front office and ownership brass that the 2012 era team, one that had just embarked on its maiden voyage, was ready to be broken up. As a result, the Marlins made two trades before the July trading deadline that reshaped the team from its intended core from 2012 to 2014 to a new era that would be built around Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, and a group of young players, some of whom were acquired in these deals.

Because of the importance of these trades to the Marlins in 2012 as well as in the future, it seems prudent for us to discuss the early returns and performance of the players involved in the deals by the end of this latest season. And the first deal to be discussed was the infamous Hanley Ramirez trade.

As you recall, the Marlins traded Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough. At the time of the deal, Ramirez did not seem to have a whole lot of trade value remaining given his contract, but based on just his projections, he had enough that this was an appropriate return for the Fish. They simply could not expect more from the Dodgers given that Los Angeles agreed to pay all of the remaining $38 million on Ramirez's deal. In return, the Marlins received a pitcher who was on the fringes of top 100 prospect lists everywhere and who was having success at the major league level.

Keep in mind that the performance of these players now, after the deal was made, should not affect whether it was the right move at the time of the trade. This exercise is merely to review the seasons of the players involved.

Hanley Ramirez

Here is how Ramirez performed for the rest of the season for the Dodgers.

Player, 2012 PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA fWAR rWAR
Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers) 272 .271 .324 .450 .332 1.4 0.6

Look at that Ramirez line and compare that to the one he posted with the Marlins this season. Notice how very similar to two half-seasons are. As we mentioned before the season ended, Ramirez has been almost exactly the same for the Dodgers since he left Miami. The Fish missed out on some of Ramirez's natural regression to the mean, as his line did improve slightly. In fact, his work in the second half is almost exactly what I predicted for the second half this season. The only difference is that, with the Dodgers, Ramirez stopped walking and saw his OBP suffer. Overall in the second half, Ramirez ended up hitting a disappointing but not unsurprising .267/.321/.452.

Ramirez's likely value of about a win in the second half would have been nice given the Marlins' alternatives (more on that later today), and his improvement just in regression towards his mean likely means the Dodgers are happy with their pickup. But given the salary implications involved in this trade, Ramirez's final 272 PA of 2012 show some evidence that the Marlins made the right call to trade him away.

Nathan Eovaldi

Player, 2012 IP K% BB% ERA FIP fWAR rWAR
Nathan Eovaldi (Marlins) 63 15.4 9.5 4.43 4.16 0.7 0.6

At least in terms of 2012, the Marlins have to be very happy with Eovaldi's performance, as they should be with all of the early prospect returns. As mentioned in the linked article, Eovaldi saw his share of problems in 2012 with the Fish, but overall he seemed to perform at least passably for a young pitcher tasked with the role of back-of-the-rotations starter. Eovaldi got better as the season progressed (or at least he hit a hot streak at the end of the year), and his performance against left-handed hitters showed some improvement later on in 2012. He still has plenty of work to do to become a competent major league starter, but it seems there is enough potential there to warrant his fringe top-100 status.

Scott McGough

McGough was a throw-in piece of the trade, and he performed like a throw-in piece with the Marlins' High-A Jupiter affiliate. After exhibiting some control issues out of the bullpen in Los Angeles, McGough dropped both the walks and strikeouts in his 16 1/3 innings with the Marlins' organization. He did post a 3.24 ERA and 2.96 FIP, but this was because he did not allow a home run during his time there as well.

McGough was described as a fungible relief arm, and the Marlins could do with more of those, even if they currently are not prepared to contribute in the majors. For the most part, the team could have also done without McGough's addition to the deal, as he does not add much beyond Eovaldi's value, but since the team received someone else in return, that is a bonus no matter how poorly he performs.

Prognosis

After the first year, the Marlins have to be pretty happy with this trade. Instead of dealing with a money sink in terms of performance relative to salary, not to mention the potential clubhouse and attitude issues of which Ramirez is often accused, the team received a starting pitcher who has shown enough in his first full season in the majors to convince the Marlins that he can fill a role in the back of a starting rotation at least. Given the relative values of the two players' financial commitments, the Marlins should be happy they got a fourth or fifth starter for five or six more seasons out of a league average player being paid like a fringe All-Star.

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