Hanley Ramirez is in the headlines yet again for creating friction within the Florida Marlins' clubhouse, but should the Marlins trade their most talented hitter for the sake of team chemistry?
In the wake of Ramirez' latest scandal, Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post suggested the Marlins should try to convince some other team to take Ramirez off their hands in exchange for "a fistful of prospects."
"Put me down for the addition-by-subtraction philosophy," Stoda wrote, arguing that Ramirez' periodic disputes with management and teammates are not worth his weak-as-of-late hitting.
Stoda even tried to bend the words of Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, who declined to comment on the likelihood of trading Ramirez. "Beinfest could have said the Marlins are less likely to trade Ramirez than most players, but didn't," he wrote.
Stoda isn't the only person calling on the Marlins to dump Hanley. More than a few commenters on the NBCMiami Facebook page have suggested the move as well.
Why would the Marlins want to get rid of a career .306 hitter just because he has struggled in the first half of the 2011 season? Keep in mind that he is only two years removed from a batting title, and he couldn't have forgotten how to hit in the meantime.
In fact, advanced statistics show Hanley's biggest problem in 2011 has been bad luck. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is .239 in 2011, well below his career mark of .340. Since hitters can't really control where they hit a ball in the field, this stat is mostly a measure of luck. A reversion to the mean would make his early-2011 struggles seem more like the outlier that they most likely are.
Beyond that, trading Ramirez now would mean doing so when his value is the lowest it has ever been. Ramirez is on pace to post career lows in just about every offensive category, and is due to earn $46.5 million in the final three years of his current contract.
If Ramirez can't help a last-place team, why would any other team give up their top prospects for him? Beinfest is a good dealmaker, but he's not that good.
David Hill is a Miami native and the cofounder of Marlins Diehards, the only blog with perspective on the eccentricities of Marlins fandom.