Hanley Ramirez has been all smiles since joining the Dodgers. Will that translate into wins this weekend in San Francisco?
The first few games of the Hanley Ramirez era haven't quite gone the Dodgers' way, though Ramirez has slotted in quite nicely into the middle of the lineup. Ramirez is 3-for-6 with a triple and three walks so far and has scored a run in both games.
Ramirez has played third base in both games, though he will likely see some time at shortstop before Dee Gordon returns. No matter the position Ramirez will be an upgrade, at least on offense.
Dodgers third basemen are hitting .253/.316/.380, 28th in MLB in home runs (four), 21st in OPS+ (89), and 22nd in wOBA (.300).
Dodgers shortstops are batting .233/.284/.318, 25th in OPS+ (77), 22nd in wOBA (.271).
Ramirez this year is hitting .251/.329/.435 with 14 home runs and a .335 wOBA, a season that would only qualify as the sixth best year of his career. There is definitely room for upside.
The Dodgers took a gamble in acquiring Ramirez, but given that he is just 28 years old there is a decent chance he can regain the form that saw him make three All-Star teams and hit 107 home runs from 2007-2010. That the Dodgers took on his over $37 million remaining in salary through 2014 was a strong sign from the new ownership group that they are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
General manager Ned Colletti was downright giddy about being free of financial shackles.
"If it makes sense from a player standpoint, it comes down to a strictly baseball deal, we have the right to do whatever we need to do, and that's a tremendous position to be in," Colletti said.
In his career Ramirez is hitting just .212/.282/.338 with three home runs in 38 games against the Giants, but he can etch a space for himself in Dodger lore by turning that around beginning Friday night. The Dodgers have a weekend series at AT&T Park against the division-leading Giants.
The Dodgers play 12 of their final 62 games against the Giants, who lead the National League West by three games. To cut into that lead, the Dodgers will need a slightly better offensive showing than the last time they were in San Francisco, when they scored no runs in three games from June 25-27.
But with Ramirez on board, and Matt Kemp back from the disabled list joining Andre Ethier to give the Dodgers real life middle of the order hitters, the Dodgers just might score a run or two this time around at AT&T Park.
Call me crazy.