Fielder Sign and Trade to Marlins for Hanley Ramirez

Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez

There has been crazy activity the last week or so at the baseball Winter Meetings.  Free agents going here and there, possible trades talked about left and right.  The new-look Miami Marlins pried closer Heath Bell away from the Padres, SP Mark Buehrle away from the Chi-Sox, and SS Jose Reyes from the Mets.  Just today we found out that Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the best available hitter and pitcher, respectively, are taking their talents to Los Angeles, or Anaheim, or wherever the Angels play.  

There's one more move that needs to be made, and it concerns our home town Milwaukee Brewers and their own prize free agent, Prince Fielder.  He needs to sign with Milwaukee for whatever the Marlins will want to pay him, and then be traded to Miami for SS Hanley Ramirez.

First, let's look at some straight up facts:

1. Hanley Ramirez signed a 6 year, $70 million extension with the Marlins in 2008.  It will pay him $15, $15.5, and $16 million over the next 3 seasons until 2015, when he would become a free agent.  A deal that's doable for the Brewers.

2. During those same 3 years, Ryan Braun will be making less than $10 million each season in Milwaukee.

3. The Brewers most recent offer to Prince Fielder was around 6 years, $120 mil, which would pay him $20 million a season.  Keep in mind, this number would be just a few million dollars less than what it would cost to have Braun and Ramirez both under contract.

4. The Marlins reportedly offered Albert Pujols 10 years, $275 million, but he turned it down and signed with the Angels.  I'm pretty sure they can pony up more dough than the Crew can offer for Fielder.

Next, let's assume these things:

1. Prince isn't going to re-sign with Milwaukee.  Even if we can come close to matching someone else's best offer (which we probably can't, by the way, see #4 above) he probably wants to go to a bigger market anyway.

2. The Marlins signed Jose Reyes to play shortstop, and all indications are that they're asking Hanley Ramirez to switch positions and move to third, something that he apparently has no interest in doing.  According to ESPN, the organization is now exploring the option to move Ramirez.

3. After losing out on both Pujols and Wilson, whom the Marlins were also pursuing, they would look toward the next best available free agent, i.e. Fielder.

Here's what I would do if I were Brewer GM Doug Melvin:

Find out if and what kind of offer the Marlins are going to make for Fielder.  Let them know that I would be interested in working something out for Hanley Ramirez, if indeed he's available.  If they want to get rid of Ramirez because he's going to be a headache in the clubhouse and they have the dollars to sign Fielder, this seems like it would logically work out.  Granted, if the Marlins just wanted to sign Fielder in free agency themselves and keep Ramirez even if he's causing problems, there's really nothing I'd be able to do about it.  But if it was working out, I'd also think about trying to toss in Francisco Rodriguez who accepted salary arbitration last night, and get that extra $15 million that we don't want to pay him off the books.  The Marlins seem to be tossing around money left and right, so why not add another good bullpen arm?

The Brewers have a need at shortstop and a need in the batting order behind Ryan Braun.  They also need to improve their defense, and Ramirez is an excellent defensive shortstop.  In my opinion, they also have a need for another star to accompany Braun.  Ramirez would fit all of these requirements.  If Fielder's not coming back, why not spend the money (less money, by the way) on another All-Star slugger?  To me, it makes sense for both teams - the Brewers get an All-Star to help ease the loss of Fielder, and the Marlins get another top-flight free agent that they're looking for while getting rid of a player that may be more trouble than he's worth.

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