Miami Marlins Should Trade Hanley Ramirez?

The title to this piece is currently one of the hottest debates among Marlins fans: should the Miami Marlins trade away Hanley Ramirez? According to his column Tuesday morning, Ken Rosenthal thinks they should:

Let's drop the pretense: Trading Ramirez is the Marlins' logical next move, one that could make the team even stronger. [...]

Ramirez, who turns 28 on Dec. 23, is too young to accept a move to third base. If anything, he has a point to prove in 2012 as he tries to recover from surgery on his left shoulder and the worst season of his career.

Rosenthal's argument hinges on the fact that Ramirez it too self-centered to move to another position at 28 years old, and that he is absolutely against playing third base next season. To be fair, both of these points could be true. Ramirez hasn't spoken on the record about his feelings on switching positions, and he has flashed signs in the past of being moody and egotistical.

Also, from his perspective, why would he want to switch positions now? As a shortstop he's one of the best players in the game; as a third baseman, he's still a star, but he's not nearly as valuable. So if Hanley has reservations about moving to third base, it's completely understandable.

I don't buy it, though. Even if Ramirez has reservations about moving to third base, the Marlins hold the ultimate say here. Trading him right now makes little sense for them, as his trade value is at an all-time low after a down 2010 season in which he dealt with injuries. The Marlins want to compete now, and trading Ramirez likely wouldn't net them a comparable amount of major league talent.

So the Marlins are left with one option: appease Hanley and bring him around to the idea of playing third. Theoretically, this shouldn't be too hard to do. After all, the Marlins' recent offseason acquisitions have made them instant contenders for a playoff spot in 2012. If Ozzie Guillen goes into Spring Training praising Ramirez every chance he gets and talking him up as their team star -- which he's already doing -- it should convince Hanley that hey, I'm in a pretty good spot here.

Of course, we have no idea exactly how much Hanley Ramirez would prefer to stay at shortstop and we also don't know him personally, so much of this is idle speculation. But one thing is clear: the Marlins shouldn't be looking to trade Ramirez unless they literally have no other options.

For more on the Marlins, head over to SB Nation's blog on the Marlins, Fish Stripes.

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