MIAMI GARDENS, FL: Hanley Ramirez #2 of the Florida Marlins looks on during a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Miami Marlins just signed free agent shortstop Jose Reyes to a six-year contract. This was somewhat unwelcome news to Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who doesn't want to move.
Look at those Miami Marlins! They're going hard after Albert Pujols! They're going hard after C.J. Wilson or Mark Buehrle! They already signed Heath Bell! And they already signed Jose Reyes! Everything's coming up Marlins! Even criticism of the team's new look has waned as the public became progressively desensitized to the outlandishness of it all. The logo, the uniforms, the home run feature - individually, they're dreadful, but together, they add to the Marlins' newfound campy charm. Or something.
But it isn't all sunshine and lollipops in south Florida. About that Reyes thing. The Marlins, as you know, already had a shortstop in Hanley Ramirez. To sign Reyes as a free agent would mean that the Marlins would have to change Hanley's position. Let's go back to when signing Reyes was still just a rumor:
Source: H. Ramírez is not at all pleased at prospect of changing positions if Marlins sign Reyes; the two aren't the friends many portray.
Right. Now fast-forward. Signing Reyes isn't a rumor anymore. Reyes already signed. He touched Jeffrey Loria's hand and everything. The Marlins don't have one shortstop. The Marlins have two shortstops, which means they need to turn one of those shortstops into not-a-shortstop. That guy is Hanley Ramirez. When Reyes signed, the expectation was that Ramirez would slide over to third base.
And, as he hinted at before, Ramirez is apparently none too pleased with these developments. Here's an article from Enrique Rojas, and though the article's written in Spanish, the gist is this: Ramirez doesn't want to move. The lead quote, translated:
Hanley Ramirez doesn't like the idea of moving from shortstop to third base, and he's informed the Miami Marlins that he'd prefer to change teams before changing positions.
Here's what you need to know: the Marlins still owe Ramirez $46.5 million over the next three years. His OPS dropped 101 points between 2009-2010, and then it dropped another 141 points between 2010-2011, his season being cut short by a shoulder injury. Now does not look like a good time for the Marlins to trade Ramirez if they're interested in bringing back much in the way of value.
But they don't have to. See, it doesn't much matter how Hanley feels. I mean, it matters a little, but it isn't Hanley who's in control of this situation. The Marlins are in control of the situation, and if they play Jose Reyes at shortstop, and if they want to play Hanley Ramirez at third base, then Hanley Ramirez will end up playing third base. He'll suck it up and go out there, just as countless players before him have done.
The obvious comparison here is Michael Young. Young raised a stink when he was bumped from short to third, and he raised a stink when he was bumped from third to utility. He demanded a trade. He wasn't traded. He stayed with the Rangers, and the first time he was moved, he batted .322. The second time he was moved, he batted .338. People talk about Young as a leader. Young is a leader, despite his previous outbursts.
Players have a lot of confidence in themselves because they need to, and they take a lot of pride in the position they play. They might interpret a position switch as a shot or a sign of disrespect. It isn't necessarily a bad or surprising thing that Ramirez has had an emotional reaction to the signing. I might be more concerned if he didn't. But emotional reactions are instantaneous, fleeting, and over time, people calm down. They almost always calm down. Hanley Ramirez doesn't like the idea of moving over, but he'll think about it, and he'll talk about it, and in the end he'll almost certainly move over.
The Marlins had Hanley Ramirez. Do you think they would've committed six years to Jose Reyes if they thought it would've caused a whole mess? Hanley will live, and the Marlins will be fine. Fine and fabulous.