When we last heard from Hanley Ramirez, the mercurial Miami Marlin was telling reporters in Santo Domingo that he would willingly accept
a position change to third base in order to accommodate newly-acquired shortstop Jose Reyes.
After a month of wondering whether reports of Ramirez' ire over the signing of Reyes was meaningful, Marlins fans' long nightmare appeared over. Guillen tweeted Tuesday morning that he was "very happy
" to read Ramirez' comments.
But as with every eruption in Hanley-land, the ending is not as simple as it initially appeared. Fox Sports
reported Tuesday that despite Ramirez' statement to the contrary, he very much prefers to remain at shortstop
Ramirez is expected to meet with the Marlins this week, and Fox Sports' report suggests that he "will handle the matter with the Marlins professionally." However, the report does not offer much more insight into Ramirez' thoughts at this time.
At this point, any further debate about Ramirez' thoughts on changing positions seems rather pointless. He has said publicly that he will play wherever the team wants him to play, and until he says otherwise it is hard to take seriously any other reports of potential discord.
But on the off chance Ramirez refuses to play third base, the Marlins have other options. Reyes played second base for a time earlier in his career, though he is a much stronger shortstop. It is possible the Marlins could move him there, keep Ramirez at shortstop, and play current second-baseman Omar Infante at third.
But that would place two of the three infielders (Reyes and Infante) out of their strongest positions on defense. The Marlins could also play Greg Dobbs at third, now that they have signed him to a two-year, $3 million contract
Of course, Dobbs is a .264 hitter with 39 career home runs in parts of eight seasons, making him literally less than half the player Ramirez is. Ramirez does not have to like playing third base, an unhappy Hanley is still better than all the Marlins' other options at third base.