While the Marlins were busy making a sales pitch to all-world first-baseman Albert Pujols, reports swirled Tuesday that incumbent centerpiece Hanley Ramirez is not happy that the team wants him to move to third base to make room for new shortstop Jose Reyes.
At one point, word at baseball's winter meetings in Dallas was that Ramirez had demanded a trade from the Marlins.
There are too many conflicting reports from various unnamed sources to know for sure what is going on with Hanley Ramirez, but one man is not worried about a trade demand coming from Ramirez' camp: manager Ozzie Guillen.
Guillen, once a star shortstop himself, told the Palm Beach Post Tuesday he understands why Ramirez is upset, but thinks he will come around and accept the position change.
"I don't blame him," he said. "He has a right to be upset. He's a human being. He was the shortstop."
According to the Post, Ramirez has not asked to be traded and in fact "reiterated to the Marlins his desire to stay at shortstop" on Tuesday. He has not said anything publicly about the move, but tweeted Tuesday, "What I am gonna do is work hard and get ready for next season because that is the only thing I can control."
Guillen said he had not spoken to Ramirez about the move yet, prefering to let Ramirez process his frustration first. He did say that there should be no doubt about who the top dog in the Marlins clubhouse will be next year.
"This ballclub is Hanley's club," he said. "Whoever we bring aboard is to help him, and the ballclub, obviously, but this is still Hanley Ramirez's club."
Guillen also said he does not expect Ramirez to sulk or let his own disappointment affect his play on the field next season, which suggests he does not know much about the mercurial Ramirez.
"I hope he understands our situation. Carrying it on the field? I expect every player to go out there and play the game right. That's all I ask. I don't ask you for anything else."
Still, Guillen understands that many managers have tried and failed to keep Ramirez happy and playing carefree. "My goal this year is to make Hanley Ramirez have a smile on his face and play the game the way it should be played. That's it. If Ramirez plays the way I think he knows he can play, he has a chance to win the MVP."