Hanley Ramirez—A Tantrum We Can Get Behind

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As much of a diva and malcontent as he can be; as many tantrums as he throws and pushes his ostensible “superiors” around with his status as the favorite son of owner Jeffrey Loria, Hanley Ramirez isn’t wrong if the stories of him being unhappy with the concept of shifting positions to accommodate Jose Reyes are true.

Can’t you picture Ramirez’s sour face? Hear him utter the words concerning Reyes, “Why do I hafta move? Why can’t he move?”

Already he’s supposedly said, “I’m a shortstop” when asked about his feelings on a position shift.

For all the behaviors that have drawn the ire of everyone in his clubhouse and with the organization—apart from Loria—this isn’t a situation where Andre Dawson can go down to talk to Ramirez—with Tony Perez in tow to make sure Dawson doesn’t hurt the young star—and “straighten” him out.

He’s been the highest paid and best talent on the team for years; he signed a reasonable contract extension without a no-trade clause; so now that the Marlins are heading into a new ballpark and are putting forth the pretense of spending big money and pursuing high-profile free agents Reyes, Albert Pujols, Mark Buehrle and others, Ramirez is supposed to sit by quietly with his current contract and shift positions to boot?

It’s not fair.

And if the Marlins play the Marlins “thing” of being hard-liners with team president David Samson as the hatchet-man when it suits them, and they tell Ramirez that he signed the contract and there’s no connection between his contract and the deals they’re inking to new players, he has every reason to squawk.

There’s a perception that the Marlins chasing name free agents is only a ruse; that they have little-to-no intention of spending the cash required to sign the above-mentioned players.

I don’t believe that to be the case.

The Marlins have no choice but to get at least two of the players they’re pursuing no matter what they have to do to get it done. That includes Reyes, Pujols, Buehrle, Francisco Rodriguez, Ryan Madson, C.J. Wilson or anyone else.

It’s probably not going to do much good for the recruitment of fans in the football and basketball-oriented city of Miami, but they threw themselves out there and must follow through.

There are multiple precedents in recent years of teams extending players when they were under no mandate nor any obligation to do so. The Rockies gave a super-long-term contract to Troy Tulowitzki that guarantees he’ll be in Colorado for his entire career; the Brewers did the same thing with Ryan Braun.

Ramirez’s current contract has $46.5 million remaining through 2014; if the Marlins suddenly have this stadium windfall and he’s that close to the owner, why can’t they extend the extension to keep him happy?

If the Marlins won’t do that with Ramirez, whatever happens will be their own fault and it won’t be as simple as rolling their eyes at Ramirez being a brat.

Because he’ll be right.

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