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Hanley Ramirez is seeking in excess of $130 million. Is he worth it?

May 15, 2014, 5:06 PM EDT

hanley ramirez getty Getty Images

Jon Heyman reports that Hanley Ramirez — who hits free agency after this season — is seeking a contract in “excess of $130 million” from the Dodgers. Not that he’s going to get it. Or at least not any time soon. Heyman’s source tells him that there is a “significant gap” between Ramirez and the Dodgers at this point.

Ramirez is off to a relatively slow start this season and missed nearly half of last season to injury. But he has been pretty darn good overall, hitting .313/.377/.570 with 25 homers and 13 stolen bases in the 127 games he’s played since the start of last year.

There aren’t a lot of shortstops in that pay grade. Troy Tulowitzki is on a $157 million deal, but he was several years younger than Ramirez is now when he signed it. Same with Elvis Andrus, who signed a $120 million deal with the Rangers. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Stephen Drew: an above average shortstop who was good enough to start for the World Series winner, but who is now currently unemployed. Ramirez is better than him, of course, but the point is that it’s a long way down from one tier to the next in shortstop land.

At the same time, there aren’t a lot of great shortstops out there either, so who knows? Ramirez is going to be hard to predict. His health this season may go a long way in determining if he gets the sort of payday he’s looking for.

  1. hcf95688 - May 15, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    I’m seeking to be taller. And better looking.

    • jfk69 - May 15, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      Ramirez meet Drew. Stephen meet Hanley.

  2. proudlycanadian - May 15, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    I am seeking the fountain of youth.

  3. juuuuustabitoutside - May 15, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    We really shouldn’t be considering him a SS for his next contract. His defensive prowess is better suited for 3B.

    In fact, if Uribe was out for an extended period of time, I would be lobbying to move Hanley over this year and let the 2 Cubans in the minors duke it out to play SS (Alex Guerrero and Erisbel Arruebarrena)

    • baberuthslegs - May 15, 2014 at 6:00 PM

      Didn’t we already go through the moving Hanley from shortstop thing?

    • pwshrugged - May 15, 2014 at 8:02 PM

      Pretty sure you mean that Gordon would slide to SS and Guerrero would play 2B. All it takes is one injury to bring up Guerrero, who’s already signed to a pretty nice MLB deal. So expect him to be their immediately infield call-up.

      • dodgeblue - May 15, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        I sense the LAD are just waiting till next year, then let Hanley walk and teach Mr Guerrero SS. I’d rather they sign Hanley, but not sure if the bean counters agree.

      • pwshrugged - May 15, 2014 at 9:52 PM

        If the Dodgers are concerned about Guerrero’s defense at 2B, I doubt they’ll try him at SS.

        I think the plan was to have Guerrero develop defensively and suffer with the Gordon/Uribe/Turner combo for a few weeks. I don’t think anyone expected both Gordon and Uribe to end up raking. In fact, I imagine they thought Gordon would come up, hit .240, steal some bags, and just keep Guerrero’s spot warm. At any rate, as soon as one of them gets injured or slumps hard enough, Guerrero will come up. But in the interim, one of them could end up being really good trade bait at the deadline if the Dodgers spring a leak somewhere.

      • doctornature - May 16, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        Guerrero is a natural SS. He was learning 2B in the minors.

        Gordon STUNK at SS when he was brought up.

        He is much better suited for 2B.

        So the Dodgers would not have 2 players moving to un-natural positions if Hanley goes. Guerrero will play short and Gordon 2nd. At least if the Dodgers have any common sense.

      • pwshrugged - May 17, 2014 at 2:13 PM

        I didn’t realize Guerrero was a natural SS; I’ve never heard his name and SS mentioned together since he signed the contract with the Dodgers. I do agree, though, that Gordon’s not a great option at that position; I’d forgotten what a debacle he’s been there in the past.

        I suppose we’ll find out; the way everyone’s hitting, it only seems natural that the end point is to see Guerrero and Gordon as the middle infielders in one configuration or another. Hanley’s going to end up at 3B eventually.

  4. chill1184 - May 15, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Just like Cano if the Dodgers wont give him a big pay, another team will. Should be interesting.

  5. ezthinking - May 15, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Reyes got 6 years and 106 with a 7th year option for $22 mil. A market deal for his skills in the market at that time. Media went nuts.

    Tulo’s deal was signed when he had 4 years of service time and extended his extension that ran through 2014. Simply said, it wasn’t a market rate. Media goes slightly less nuts.

    Hanley will get the $130 mil over the next, what, 6 yrs? Less than $22 mil a year. The market will bear that.

    The “is he worth it?” question is ridiculous because he will get the market rate. Actors, musicians, speakers, TV personalities all get a market rate for entertainment. MLB is entertainment and the market demand will drive his salary – not whether you or I would pay that much.

    • senioreditor2 - May 15, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      It’s a bad free-agent market next year….he’ll get above 130.

      • gothapotamus90210 - May 16, 2014 at 8:25 AM

        Agreed, provided he doesn’t spend a large part of the year on the DL.

        He put up 5.4 WAR basically in half a season last year, and the going free agent rate is $4-5M per WAR. At his current pace, he’d post ~2.4 WAR (Fangraphs), but I have to think he’s going to pick it up and probably post something in the 4-5 WAR range, which would make a $130M contract well within reach. Even at 2.4, he’d still probably get $130M.

    • dan1111 - May 16, 2014 at 7:01 AM

      “Is he worth it?” simply means: would the Dodgers get adequate return on their investment if they paid him $130 million? It is a question about what the market rate should be.

      I agree that all the harrumphing about “should players make millions of dollars for playing a game?” is dumb, but this isn’t that. Clearly some players have proven not to be worth the huge contracts they got. This is due to the risk inherent in the baseball player market, as well as the failure of some teams to properly assess value.

  6. El Bravo - May 15, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Troy Tulowitzki….the curve f@cker. Remember that kid in science class that always got an A when everyone else got a C+ or less? That’s Troy. Ruining life for eveyone else.

    • jrob23 - May 15, 2014 at 7:53 PM

      the most overrated player in baseball. Plays in a hitters haven and can’t stay healthy and when he does his numbers are great but not superstar worthy like his contract and reputation say. Yeah, he’s doing great this season so let’s all use hyperbole and crown him

      • clemente2 - May 15, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        Umm, please go look at his numbers. For a defensive plus SS. He has been injured; when playing he is amazing.

      • dan1111 - May 16, 2014 at 7:17 AM

        Tulo is really, really good, even after adjusting for Coors. He has produced as much value by WAR as Derek Jeter had produced at this point in his career–despite appearing in 180 fewer games than Jeter.

        When you combine what he does on offense and defense, he is one of the handful of best players in the game, and he isn’t even that well known. He is definitely underrated.

  7. PanchoHerreraFanClub - May 15, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Don’t the clubhouse guys make a million two with the Dodgers? Surely, a SS that spends 50+ days a year on the DL is worth at least $130 million.

  8. cohnjusack - May 15, 2014 at 6:05 PM

    If he’s 2013 Hanley, he’s absolutely worth it.

    …but there is little reason to believe he is. That was a great 86 games stretch. In 2011, 2012 and 2014, he’s hitting under .260 with a slightly above league average OPS. Which is pretty fantastic for a shortstop…which he almost certainly won’t be for long.

    He’s probably soon going to be a third baseman. One he’ll probably put up a 120 or so OPS+ with a lot of injury problems and in his early 30s. That’s plenty valuable, but a far cry from the Hanley of old.

    • mkprz - May 15, 2014 at 7:30 PM

      Yup. You got that right. $130,000,000 can make another team very happy… and broke

  9. luvmnsports2012 - May 15, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    Not in the last two years he’s not!!

  10. spursareold - May 15, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    Another question is, how long can he continue to play SS? Middle infielders migrate to the corners as their careers wind down. His hitting numbers, even in his good years, aren’t NEARLY as impressive for a 1B or a 3B.

  11. rcali - May 15, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Well if the Dodgers keep charging $13 for tall can of beer then money should not be a problem for their side.

    • mkprz - May 15, 2014 at 7:33 PM

      That’s if people keep going so they can buy that $13 beer.
      It’s madness the prices the Dodgers are charging.
      Seats and TV contracts are already sold but the people are not coming like they expected.
      They’ll need more give aways to bring people in, but doubling the ticket price for those giveaways won’t work.

  12. mikhelb - May 15, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    Drew is a free agent right now and he was asking for $15 millions per year or even more, at that proce tag and compared to Ramírez, Hanley is a bargain.

    Drew is above average, but slightly above. His defense is nothing to write home about, has low AVG/low OBP, he is mostly a slugger with not a lot of power who had a good 2014 at Fenway but a bad season away from the hitting paradise in Boston (for comparison, check David Ortíz splits lifetime at Fenway and away to understand how much it helps some players).

  13. pwshrugged - May 15, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Even at 3B – and we have to consider Hanley a third baseman for the majority of his next contract – he’s probably still worth it. The article doesn’t note what time frame he wants, and I’d probably take 7-8 years of Hanley at $130. If he wants $130 over 5-6 years, well, maybe not. But even as a 3B, he seems valuable to me. He’s got 30HR potential every year (if he stays healthy) and should be able to steal 10-15 bags per year for a few years yet. He’s got a history of being a good hitter, so yeah, I think it’s hard to argue when you can find someone you can plug into your 3/4/5 hole and basically leave them alone all year. Add in 2-3 more years at SS (potentially), and I think he’s probably worth Tulo-esque money.

  14. brianc6234 - May 16, 2014 at 2:24 AM

    I’d say Hanley Ramirez is worth that much but only if he can stay healthy. Maybe the contract should be for less but he can make $130 million if he plays enough games. He seems to get hurt a lot now.

  15. kappy32 - May 16, 2014 at 3:08 AM

    I was saying this regarding Stephen Drew & the Mets “pursuit” of him. There is such a dearth of offensive talent at the SS position, especially talent with power, that a SS who puts up the same numbers as a 3B will be worth significantly more than that 3B. It’s the basis of our free market economy: supply & demand. So, do I think he is worth $130 million? Yes, I absolutely do. Now, if this were a LF or 1B who put up Ramirez’s numbers, then I would say he isn’t worth it. It is all about what other options are available at that position & at SS there aren’t many that are worth anything.

  16. 18thstreet - May 16, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Do the Yankees need a shortstop next year?

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