22 June 2011
Okay so the last few days I have been listening to a lot of sports radio and when ever people talk about the Marlins the issue over Hanley Ramirez come up. People call in and call him lazy, talk about how he seems disengaged from the rest of the team, and they also ask about the possibility of the Marlins trading him. Let me squash this trade thing right now, Hanley is not going to be traded. First of all the Marlins would not get equal value for him at all, and with him being the face of the franchise right now the Marlins are not going to get rid of him right before they move into the new stadium. The Marlins are all in on Hanley Ramirez for now. He was the young player that the Marlins have given a long term deal to, when he was younger the Marlins traded a way Miguel Cabrera in part so that Cabrera's bad habits would not transfer to Hanley, and with the trade of Uggla this offseason the Marlins made it official that Hanley would be the corner stone that they would build around.
The real problem with Hanley is that he is just not a leader and he is on a team where their is no one else is really ready to take that role either. This offseaon all the talk about the Marlins is how Hanley Ramirez was coming into this season in great shape and was ready to have a great shape and take on the leadership role of the team. Well neither of those things have happened, but while Hanley should come back and play like the great player that he is for the remainder of his contract he probably will never be the real leader of this team. Leadership skill can be learned and people can become leaders, but generally in sports you tend to have people that are either natural leaders or they just are not and Hanley isn't.
Logan Morrison tried to show some leadership by getting in Hanley's face Monday about how he arrives much later to the pre-game warm-ups then everyone else on the team. But truth is that LoMo, even if he is one of the future leaders of this team, is only in his second year so you have to wonder just how much of what Morrison says will really have an effect on Hanley. One of the reasons why I think that the Marlins trade of Dan Uggla is one of the worst decisions of the last seven years, along with firing of Joe Girardi, was because Uggla was the one player in the Marlins who was both unafraid to challenge Hanley, but also had enough credibility on the field that Hanley had to respect him. With Uggla gone it means that Hanley is in a locker room with guys like Coghlan, Morrison, Stanton and Sanchez (who are all to young to be significant leaders), Buck, Infante, Dobbs, and Helms (most of who are new to the team, but all are veterans who have never been real leaders on any of their past teams). Really the only players on the Marlins roster who are accomplished and have the longevity to really challenge Hanley in the locker room are Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, and Anibal Sanchez. But they are all starting pitchers who unlike a Roger Clemens or Curt Shilling, these guys are not outspoken and typically just go about their business quietly.
Some people like to joke about Jack McKeon being 80 years old and coming back to manage one of the youngest teams in MLB, but in a locker room without much leadership Trader Jack might be a good fit. McKeon has never been afraid to get in his players face or to speak his mind. It is very publicly known that he rode Brad Penny very hard in 2003, and while Penny may not have liked it, his dad thanked Jack for doing it after the Marlins won the 2003 World Series. McKeon actually stared this managerial run for the Marlins by benching Hanley. While he now says that he was just giving Ramirez a day off, most believe that the benching was more of a punishment. Either way Hanley responded the next night by going 2-4 with two runs, a stolen base and actually beating out a grounder to shortstop.
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