How Well Does Hanley Fit With Top Targets?

Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

Seattle Mariners

Potential Lineup:

  1. Ketel Marte – SS – S
  2. Kyle Seager – 3B – L
  3. Robinson Cano – 2B – L
  4. Nelson Cruz – RF – R
  5. Hanley Ramirez – DH – R
  6. Mark Trumbo – 1B – R
  7. Seth Smith/Franklin Gutierrez – LF – L/R
  8. Leonys Martin – CF – L
  9. Chris Iannetta – C – R

Why Ramirez Fits:

Hanley’s right-handed stick could be very valuable in Seattle. Assuming he stays in a designated hitter’s role throughout 2016, he should be able to stay fairly healthy and possibly return to his hitting ways from 2012-2014, when he slashed .285/.356/.486 with 135 wRC+. Aside from Cruz and trade candidate Trumbo, the Mariners’ lineup is left-handed heavy, and could use an above average stick from the right side. New Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto has made it clear that he wants his players striking out less and making more contact in 2016, and Ramirez has posted a likable 16.6 strikeout percentage in his career. The Mariners had the fourth-highest strikeout total among all 30 major league teams in 2015, so Ramirez definitely helps in that department. Boston is likely looking just to get rid of him, and likely wouldn’t need to take much in return, even if they are eating some of the right-handed hitter’s salary.

Why Ramirez Doesn’t Fit:

If the Mariners aren’t able to move Trumbo — or even if they are — Ramirez would make flexibility tough. Trumbo isn’t exactly a great defender at first base, nor is Cruz in right field. I’d assume the Mariners would prefer a situation where Cruz can become the full-time DH, especially knowing he is 35 now and will end 2016 at age 36. Acquiring Ramirez from Boston could make an impact on how the M’s go about their business in this offseason, next offseason, and the following. Dipoto noted that a strong defense and pitching is really what Seattle needs — aside from more contact on offense — so that could definitely turn the M’s away from Ramirez, as he is a horrible defender.

Final Decision:

Ramirez is a considerable option for the Mariners’ DH role if they fail to improve their roster in other ways. He certainly shouldn’t be the first option, however. Expect Seattle to improve their defense, on-base percentage, and middle-to-back of the starting rotation. Ramirez isn’t the worst option out there for them, but his inflexibility defensively — scratch that, he just can’t play defense — could become a problem for the Mariners going forward.

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