DALLAS –– When Miami acquired shortstop Jose Reyes, trade speculation immediately shifted to Hanley Ramirez. It was believed that Ramirez –– the team's starting shortstop for the last six years –– wouldn't be willing to switch to third base.
If true, his demands could propel the Red Sox into hot pursuit. Although Boston has a starting shortstop in Marco Scutaro, the reality is the 36-year-old is ultimately a bridge toward the future, presumably for Jose Iglesias.
But this situation aligns well for the Red Sox. Considering Ramirez started in Boston's farm system and has cultivated a close relationship with David Ortiz, he would be an ideal fit for the Red Sox.
However, let's be clear: A trade is unlikely to happen.
With the Marlins snagging Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle in free agency, they are primed to contend now and unloading a weapon like Ramirez could decimate those chances.
And despite not speaking to Ramirez yet, Reyes assured reporters in Dallas they were both compatible in the infield.
"I know Hanley wants to win and I want to win, too," Reyes said. "With him at third base and me at shortstop and the other pieces we have, we can be unbelievable. I think he's going to do what's best for the team."
Ramirez is smart enough to understand this unique chance. For the first time since winning the World Series in 2003, the Marlins have emerged as legitimate contenders and the excitement escalates with a new stadium, a new name and a new brand. It's difficult to pass up.
"[Ramirez] will do what's best for the team because it would be shocking for a player not to do that," Marlins president David Samson said.
Still, it's worth noting that Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington should at the very least –– if he hasn't already –– take a peek at Ramirez. He brings a combination of speed, power and consistency with his batting average. And he’s only 27.
Although Iglesias is waiting in the wings, the Cuban doesn't boast the pop that a stalwart like Ramirez has. Again, it's a stretch to think Cherington will swing a deal, but nothing is off limits when the hot stove is burning.
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