Friday, May 16, 2014

Hanley Ramirez Not Worth $25m Per

Recent reports have surfaced that the Dodgers are looking to extend Hanley Ramirez, who will become a free agent after the 2014 season.  And that's reasonable.  When he plays, Ramirez is a plus shortstop, particularly on the offensive end.  But the numbers that are being floated show just how nuts the landscape of baseball has become and how little some general managers view durability.  Now, who knows whether the floated numbers are accurate, i.e. looking for a $130 to $153 million dollar deal that could be in the range of $25 million dollars per season.  They seem way out of line for us.  And here's why.

Hanley Ramirez doesn't play often enough.  Two out of the last three season, Ramirez did not reach 600 plate appearances.  And no matter how good you are, if you're not on the field, you do not help your team win.  In fact, it may be just the opposite, spending money that could be allocated somewhere else that would be on the field.  Now the Dodgers are afloat with money, so maybe the normal metrics of paying value and using up payroll space for another player don't apply.  But, ... they probably will at some point.

Look, let's be honest.  We don't see Ramirez as a plus player any longer.  He's barely been above good starter territory and nowhere near All-Star caliber.  Why do we say that?  The last time Haney was a player who should have a $25m per year discussion attached to him was in 2009, when he had had three straight All-Star caliber, best shortstop in baseball, type of years, reaching 23.588 PEVA rating points.  He had had four straight years of over 650 plate appearances.

How's he been since then.

2010     12.754 PEVA, 619 PA
2011       2.996 PEVA, 387 PA
2012     10.374 PEVA, 667 PA
2013     10.989 PEVA, 336 PA

And the first six weeks of 2014 has him at an OPS of 0.772, right in line with those years, except for last.  What we're starting to see is a ping pong of an elite player sliding down.  No longer the base stealing threat he once was and difficult to stay on the field.  At 31 years of age by the end of 2014, a contract longer than three years does not make club sense, and any discussion of a contract in the neighborhood of $25 million per year, or $20 million per year, or $15 million per year will likely not work out.  Now he's going to get one in one of those regions.  Chase Utley got one in the lower stratosphere at an older age, but ask yourself, do you really think Hanley Ramirez is better than Chase Utley at this point in time.  Who would you rather have on your team, if, and we know that's a big if, they stayed healthy?  And why would you pay one player a multiple of the other just to find out?

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