Earlier today, we discussed the David Samson interview that talked about many of the things that went wrong with the Miami Marlins this season. Within the interview, there was a question regarding why Hanley Ramirez was finally traded. David Samson had a simple response.
MLB.com: Why did you feel like it was time to get Hanley Ramirez out of here?
Samson: We just realized we couldn't win with him. It was that simple.
He went into it some more, but it was basically a response of "it was time to part ways, he was not getting the job done." Of course, as the player himself, I would imagine Ramirez did not feel great about hearing that, and he had a bit of sharp response for Samson.
"Now are they winning without me?" Ramirez said.
"I don't think it's one guy," Ramirez said. "If it was me, you know, OK. I had a lot of good memories there. They gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues."
Ouch, Hanley, I thought we were friends.
Truth is, the Marlins and Ramirez have moved on, and the way Samson answered the question posed by the interviewer, it seemed more like he was trying to avoid the question and give a dismissive answer. I doubt that it was meant to insult, but of course it would certainly sound like an insult if you were the player involved, especially when ownership seemed to pin its hopes on you perhaps unnecessarily.
Either way, it turns out Samson is right to a degree. Sure, the Marlins could have won with Ramirez on their team, just like the Los Angeles Dodgers are winning with Ramirez on their team (though the Dodgers are only 21-25 since acquiring Ramirez and 53-45 before that). But the Marlins likely were not going to win with Ramirez as their second-best player, because it does not seem like he is that caliber of a player anymore. Of course, I cannot be certain, but even away from the not-so-friendly environment of the Marlins, Ramirez has not lit the world on fire or hit as well as he did in the past.Here are Ramirez's numbers split for the Marlins and the Dodgers.
Has he been better as a Dodger? Absolutely. Has he been as good as his 2010 season? No, not really. Has he been as good as his MVP campaigns? Nope. His improvement is worthwhile, but small in the grand scheme of things. If he played like he did on the Dodgers for a full season, he would maybe worth two to 2.5 Wins Above Replacement. That is great for the Dodgers, who were previously playing carcasses at those positions before acquiring Ramirez, but it would not have been good for the Marlins, who have a much more limited budget than the Dodgers and cannot afford to pay above-market rates for wins.
And that takes Ramirez's performance as a Dodger at face value. Take a look at his peripherals.
Ramirez has hit better on balls in play, which was definitely expected to happen after his poor start in that category in 2012. Still, he is not reaching the levels he had even in 2010, so once again, he is not close to the same 4.5-win player he was even back then. His ISO is up, but he is hitting homers on 25.0 percent of balls in play, a rate he has never reached before in his career. Essentially, Ramirez caught a quick power surge of home runs in late August and has otherwise been normal. He is also striking out more often and walking less.
All of this is to say that Ramirez was hot for a little while and had a couple cold streaks in between, but overall he has performed a bit better than he did in Miami. And that is to be expected when you consider simple regression to his likely mean and potentially getting away from a tough situation in Miami. But it does not mean that Ramirez is doing so well that the Marlins would have regretted making this decision. There is still plenty of time for him to continue doing well, but the difference between the Ramirez from the Dodgers thus far and the Ramirez in Miami this season is a measly five runs in a full year. Half a win is significant, but it is not the difference between being or not being worth his $31.5 million salary over the next two seasons.
And that is really what David Samson meant. Sure, he could have also directed it as a barb to Ramirez's supposed lack of leadership, but the chances are that he also meant that the Marlins were not getting the bang for their buck with Ramirez's deal, and the trade was designed at least to remedy that.