Why the Hanley Ramirez Trade Was Awful
2005 Hanley Ramirez Trade
On November 25, 2005, the Boston Red Sox traded the top minor league prospect at the time, Hanley Ramirez, as well as pitchers Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado, and Harvey Garcia to the Florida Marlins for ace pitcher Josh Beckett, third basemen Mike Lowell, and relief pitcher Guillermo Mota. Two years later, the Red Sox went on to win the World Series, and many make the direct connection between the trade and the World Series win. However, I would like to shed the trade in a different light. That, in fact, the Red Sox won the 2007 World Series in spite, not because, of the 2005 Hanley Ramirez trade.
Hanley, Where Art Though?
I am going to begin this article by bringing to mind the old saying that hindsight is 20-20, and to say that this is not always the case. It is easy to look back on the November 25, 2005 trade involving Hanley Ramirez and then look two years down the road to a World Series victory by the Red Sox and say that there is a simple case of cause and effect at hand; Lowell was the series MVP while Beckett won all four of his post-season starts, boasting a pristine 1.20 era.
Today, in hindsight, Red Sox fans assert that the trade was an obvious one for their team to make, but is this really the case? I don't think so and I am going to show you why. Now most of the players involved in the trade proved to be obsolete, with the excpetion of Anibal Sanchez, so let's begin by taking a look at Mike Lowell's career stats.
The year before being acquired by the BoSox, 31 year old Mike Lowell batted just .236 while hitting a measly 8 home runs; who really could have predicted that the veteran would have had a breakout season in hits, batting average and RBIs just two years later at 33 years of age (2007)? In fact, this was the only time Lowell, a career .279 hitter, broke over the .300 barrier in any of his 13 seasons in the majors. Not to take away from what he did for the Red Sox, but what the Red Sox thought they were acquiring in Lowell was an aged player tied to a heavy contract (18 mil left over two years). Beckett was the premier pitcher at that time, and the only way the Marlins were going to let him go is if they could dump Lowell's salary with him.
On the other side of the trade, the Marlin's received the future NL Rookie of the Year, batting champion, annual MVP contender, and Hall of Famer (yeah, I went there) Hanley Ramirez. In only his Sophomore season, the 23 year-old slugger landed himself at 24th on the all-time single-season power/speed list with a power-speed number of 36.98. The following year at age 24 he again made the list, placed at 50th all-time, with a power-speed number of 33.97. Here are his career stats:
The stats say it all. If the Sox had Hanley, I wouldn't wake up in cold sweats after reoccurring nightmares about Julio Lugo trying to hit a god damn baseball. Think about the batting lineup the Red Sox could have sported in 2007 with Hanley in the Mix. Some variation of:
- Dustin Pedroia
- Hanley Ramirez
- Manny Ramirez
- David Ortiz
- Kevin Youkilis
- Jason Varitek
- J.D. Drew
- Cocoa Crisp
- Whoever would have filled in for Lowell, probably Eric Hinske
To think back on how unstoppable the Ortis/Ramirez duo was, and then to throw in Hanley into the mix is almost unfathomable. It would have been like the Miami Heat of baseball, minus the intolerable egos. You can't say for certain that they would have still won the 2007 World Series with this lineup, but I think it is easy to say the tools would have been there.
In 2011, with Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford on the team, this almost starts to look like a joke; it's like one of those teams a twelve year old might put together on MLB2K, with some variation of:
- Jacoby Ellsbury
- Dustin Pedroia
- Hanley Ramirez
- Adrian Gonzalez
- Kevin Youkalis
- David Ortiz
- Carl Crawford
- J.D Drew
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia
There is simply no questioning the destructive potential this lineup would have had and, with Anibal Sanchez still on the team, we might have been fortunate enough to find a way to squeeze John Lackey out of the starting rotation. Also, I can't help but to attribute some of Lowell's bolstered stats to having played with a World Series caliber team, and if Hanley had been with the Red Sox I would only have to assume his 2007 stats, and on, would have been that much better.
We got a good two years out of Lowell, and even more out of Beckett, but you have to think of how long Hanley is going to be producing for. At 26, he still hasn't even hit his power peak, and when you take into consideration how weak the shortstop position is and has been in all of baseball, it makes Hanley just that much more valuable. Sure, Beckett is a great pitcher, but he is replaceable. There simply is not anyone in the league like Hanley Ramirez, and when you think of the monstrosities that the Sox have sported at short in Hanley's absence, it just magnifies the scale of his value as a player. Sure, we won a world series with Lowell and Beckett, and people tend to favor what was over what could have been, I'm just saying had we held on to Hanley we might have had a few more down the line.
So I've made my case, but what do you guys think?