There aren’t any Mike Trouts on the free-agent market. And actually, at this rate, there might never be any Mike Trouts on the free-agent market.
There are plenty of talented position players available, but they all bring their own individual question marks. People wonder how Pablo Sandoval’s body is going to age. People wonder how Yasmany Tomas is going to translate his skills from Cuba. People wonder if Victor Martinez is going to sustain last year’s power spike, and no one’s really clear on whether Nelson Cruz can repeat his massive 2014.
Perhaps top among all of them, in desirability, is Hanley Ramirez, but he, too, has a question people ask. Actually, there are a few questions, but maybe most pressingly, there are questions about his defense.
He’s never been a great defender at shortstop, and now he’s almost 31 years old, having gotten through a countless number of aches and pains. I’ll quote writer and frequent Dodgers observer Mike Petriello, from the beginning of October:
[…] that defense took a bigger step back, to the point that it’s hard to see him sticking at shortstop rather than moving to third, and the injuries continued to pile up. In 2014 alone, he missed time with minor injuries to his left hand, left calf, right shoulder, right calf, and left oblique, and those are just the ones we know about.
It’s pretty well known that current defensive statistics aren’t as reliable as current offensive statistics, but it’s also pretty well known that current defensive statistics aren’t measuring nothing, and by the numbers, Ramirez looks bad. Over the last few years, he’s been one of the very worst defensive shortstops. When he spent a chunk of time playing third base, he was statistically bad there, too. You have to allow him an adjustment period there, but still, it’s evidence that points to Ramirez being a defensive liability. Not coincidentally, though he just played short for a contender, there’s talk that Ramirez is willing to move just about anywhere.
Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.