The Dodgers have needed to add quality bats to the team for years. That's no secret and this year is no exception. But in this wafer-thin market, there aren't a lot of options.
The Padres appear to be asking a lot for Chase Headley, who is the best third baseman reportedly on the market.to get him, the Dodgers would likely have to deal Lee and at least another B-/C+ prospect to get him. While he's under control through 2014 and should perform much better outside the unfriendly confines of Petco Park, I'm still not sure I'd be rushing to give up Lee to get him.
At this rate, I might not even give up Allen Webster to get Headley. Webster's resurgence has been fantastic to see.
But should the Dodgers be looking elsewhere for offensive help?
The Marlins have reportedly been gauging trade interest in their shortsop-turned-third baseman Hanley Ramirez.
From Scott Miller of CBS Sports:
"Rival executives who have spoken with Marlins people believe they've never been more open to the idea. Halfway through a bitterly disappointing season, the Marlins aren't so much trying to blow things up (as they have in the past) as they are simply trying to change the ingredients.With the Marlins' big trade today, moving Ramirez indeed seems more likely than ever.
It's not that they think they're that far from winning so much as the Marlins simply do not like their team. They've decided that the mix is bad, the pieces don't fit, the personalities have not coalesced.
In other words, they've come to terms with the obvious."
Ramirez, a former batting champion, 30-30 man and MVP runner-up, has not been the same player he was as recently as 2010.
Ramirez is hitting just .245/.328/.405 in the last two seasons. His 2011 was shortened by injury and his 2012 is marginally better.
Despite the lack of production, the price to get him -- prospects- and money-wise -- will be greater than that of Headley. Still, if Ramirez is available, the Dodgers need to get in on the sweepstakes.
Let's face it: they're not going to get Justin Upton (as much as I'd love that). If it comes down to Ramirez and Headley, I'm taking Ramirez (if not both, which would gut the system).
Pros: Age, power, past performance, speed, SS or 3B
Cons: Attitude, declining production, owed roughly $39 million through 2014, poor defense
Pros: Age, defense, friendly contract, no attitude, on-base ability
Cons: Lack of power, limited ceiling, no superstar potential
The Marlins signed Jose Reyes to a big contract in the offseason and moving Ramirez to third base hasn't exactly worked out offensively or defensively.
What would it take to get him?
Editor's note: After some feedback, it's been determined I'm giving up too much in this deal. So, I've amended it by removing Joc Pederson.
To Florida: Lee, Scott Van Slyke, Chris Reed, Shawn Tolleson
To Los Angeles: Ramirez, Ricky Nolasco
I'm not saying it's a good possibility the Dodgers get Ramirez, but considering the Padres want a lot for an affordable Headley and the Dodgers would have to pay a premium with an interdivision trade, Ramirez might make more sense.
The Marlins get salary relief (to use on free agents in the winter), a Top 50 prospect in Lee and a budding Top 100 prospect in Pederson. Reed has lots of talent but is still an unknown. Van Slyke is a guy who can player right now for the Marlins and Tolleson is a quality bullpen arm who can go right into their bullpen. The Fish always seem to acquire MLB-ready relievers in trades.
The Dodgers get a legitimate stick in Ramirez and a starting pitcher in Nolasco who is owed about $16 million through next year. Ramirez is due about $39 million through 2014.
The best asset the Dodgers' favor right now is the ability to take on money (and not just in lieu of including quality prospects). Ownership has not been quiet about that fact. This could be a golden opportunity to put that benefit into effect.
Ramirez is a risky acquisition, but it's a risk well worth taking. He has superstar potential, even if he hasn't shown it for the last few seasons. The Dodgers cannot go forward with Luis Cruz at shortstop. Until Dee Gordon returns, I'd play Ramirez at shortstop and bat him leadoff. He's enjoyed a lot of success out of the leadoff spot in his career.
Ramirez, like another Ramirez the Dodgers acquired a few years ago, needs a change of scenery. This move would also allow the team go acquire a guy like Justin Morneau (another risky proposition) which would immediately improve the lineup.
Photo credits: SD Dirk, Flickr