Hanley Ramirez is willing to play third base. You're sitting there, eating your puffed malt balls or whatever you do on Saturday mornings, wondering what this has to do with the Giants. I'll tell you: It increases the odds that the Giants will have a real third baseman on the roster in 2015.
Ramirez played shortstop last year, but I wouldn't say he played shortstop, Bob. He has the range of a eucalyptus tree, and he drops crap all over the place. Like a eucalyptus tree. He also throws from the hole like a family of koalas is hanging from his arm, like a eucalyptus tree. I guess what I'm saying is that I've come up with a new nickname for Hanley Ramirez: Hey, Buttface. Needs a little workshopping, but ...
Okay, so Ramirez isn't an ideal shortstop. Everyone in the league knows this, and if Ramirez wanted to hold firm and go only to a team that played him at short, he would have found a team and they would have paid him a lot of money to do so. But now that he's willing to move around, he'll have a ton of suitors, including the Giants. All of the teams interested in Pablo Sandoval at third will also be interested in Ramirez at third. The supply of hitting third basemen went up; the demand (or price, rather) of hitting third basemen went down. That helps the Giants in their quest to re-sign Pablo, if just a little.
Even though Ramirez is two years older than Sandoval, it's possible that he'll be the better value over the next three or four years. He's the superior hitter, when healthy, and it's not like Sandoval has the greatest history of staying healthy, either. Some of those offensive gains would be given back on the field, and it's possible that he crumbles into powder before he's 34. Still, it's one more option for the Giants at third.
On the other hand:
- I like Pablo Sandoval
- I don't like Hanley Ramirez
Seems important. Also seems like something that would fade with each dinger. Or grow into a seething hatred if Ramirez turned into Aaron Rowand after signing a five-year deal. That would be kind of fun. Every team needs a lightning rod. I missed punching the Barry Zito bag all year, and I liked him.
Regardless, this is probably a good thing for the Giants. There's another third baseman on the market. Maybe the Red Sox will bring Ramirez back years later, like their own weird version of the Giants and Ryan Vogelsong. And maybe that will push Panda back where the people already have panda hats. Here's hoping ...