The Silver Lining in the Hanley Ramirez Injury: An Elite Infield Defense?

hanley_smiles

Hey, Juan. You remember when you got one plate appearance over the last six weeks last season and now might be starting on Opening Day? That’s why I’m laughing so hard. That’s a real thing that’s happening!

I’m not going to pretend that Hanley Ramirez‘ thumb injury is a good thing, because it’s not. It takes plate appearances away from him and gives them to Juan Uribe, or Nick Punto, or Dee Gordon, and none of that is good. It takes away a middle-of-the-order righty power bat and potentially makes Don Mattingly bat lefties Adrian Gonzalez & Andre Ethier back-to-back. It’s not only bad for the time Ramirez is out, it’s bad for the initial stages of his return, since hand injuries are notoriously difficult for hitters to overcome and because he’ll be essentially starting from scratch, having missed most of spring training to the WBC as it is.

It is, as you don’t need me to say, bad.

But in the interest of trying to prevent everyone from trying to jump off the mountain, let’s try to look at the one bright side to all of this: Hanley Ramirez is a lousy defensive shortstop, and he’s not going to be in the lineup. In fact, depending on how the Dodgers play this, their infield defense could suddenly be pretty good.

That was always going to be the case on the right side of the infield, of course, where Gonzalez and Mark Ellis are rightfully regarded as plus defenders by both traditional standards and advanced metrics. (I’m assuming at this point that Skip Schumaker sees more time in the outfield than he will at second base.) But the left? I hardly need to remind you that we’ve been spending the entire offseason saying that the Dodgers simply can’t go into the season with Ramirez at shortstop and Luis Cruz at third, because it’s a simple misallocation of resources.

Now they won’t, though obviously not for the reasons we’d wanted. Cruz has been rated highly at both short and third in his short career, and for all the things Uribe can’t do — so, so, many things — he’s got a 10.3 UZR/150 in nearly 2,000 innings at third base. Even Punto, who we pan endlessly, has a career 17.3 in over 2,200 innings at the hot corner.

Really, from a defensive point of view, the only way this can go poorly is if Gordon gets the call to play short with Cruz moving back over to third, but all indications are that’s unlikely. Gordon hasn’t shown he can hit or field, and at least the other guys can do one of those things. Assuming Gordon is not starting at shortstop, an infield foursome of Gonzalez / Ellis / Cruz / Uribe or Punto is actually… well, that’s potentially quite good.

None of that makes me feel better about the offensive hit, or especially what might happen if Cruz can’t hit enough to justify keeping him in the lineup. But for Zack Greinke & Chad Billingsley and everyone else who could use a little help from their defense — especially their shortstop — there’s at least something positive to take away from this.

All that being said, I now realize I’m trying to find the bright side in Juan Uribe potentially being in the Opening Day lineup. Come back soon, Hanley.

303 comments
Nineteen84
Nineteen84

Its funny, because when you look at him you don't expect it, but Uribe has at least been a solid defender at 3rd

Mike Petriello
Mike Petriello moderator

ha, I forgot I put the Quakes game in the schedule. Fun to see that logo up there.

JoeyE
JoeyE

ugh they're talking Amezaga. dont even bother Ned. just a waste of time

JoeyE
JoeyE

sellers cant hit, but i really like him defensively

if and when cruz sucks, i would look at him if they dont want to start Dee

efb
efb

Poo. I like having iPhone so I can participate on this website in bed as a TLR 2.0

LA_Woman
LA_Woman

Poor Hanley... feeling down... was honest & direct. feeling bad because of the injury and because he played in the WBC. feeling really guilty. felt pressure to play in WBC & he was ambivalent until the last day. felt like the Dodgers rescued him from Miami and the Dodgers can be special this year, yet also still felt obligated to his country. but he kept thinking about the Dodgers the whole time... followed the team and kept checking in with them. (Jorge got to talk to him alone after all the other reporters left.)

JoeyE
JoeyE

so what's going on with greinke? is he on track to pitch game 2?

DeucesWild
DeucesWild

@LA_Woman On top of being awesome at baseball, he also has sweet ballet skills

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@JoeyE replace Sellers with "Uribe" and we are the same person

Cochito Commish
Cochito Commish

@LA_Woman If you're latino you gotta rep your country no matter what. That's why Venezuela was pretty much tearing Felix a new one. 

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@JoeyE he says he is. hasnt been stretched out at all. not fair to him to expect him to pitch April 2.


Curt Schilling, MD, FACS says he has bone chips

JoeyE
JoeyE

someone call dodgertalk for me

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@capnsparrow @efb make sure your settings are set so that you dont have automatic logout, reset your browser cache, and sign in to MSTI. i promise it will work

efb
efb

@PWEEEEG @efb ew

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@LA_Woman @PWEEEEG @capnsparrow I can joke because... jokes. But when it comes to defending a man on the roster, or value on the left side of the infield, I have always been that girl.

JoeyE
JoeyE

@PWEEEEG @JoeyE yeah i actually dont hate Uribe for that exact reason. notice i havent really trashed him before

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@JoeyE @PWEEEEG "Uribe cant hit, but i sure like him defensively"

except Uribe can hit dingers. sometimes.

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@efb yup. my aluminum frame is still killing it. amazing investment

efb
efb

@PWEEEEG @efb u really can the internal airflow design is something all pcs are still trying to figure out

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@efb nah. Hanley is no Apple product. He's a Windows XP laptop. great in the beginning but eventually crashes. 


As everyone knew it would

efb
efb

Is there a Hanley joke in there somewhere

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@efb expensive, yes. more expensive if you customize your purchase. "uncustomizable" is part of the package in terms of after market limitations. But you cannot argue with my computer's performance versus other laptops. Honestly. I hate Apple, I do. But you cant argue with my laptop's standup performance. It has earned its weight times ten in performance and lifetime

efb
efb

@PWEEEEG @efb yeah but so expensive and uncustomizable

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@efb ew? best tech investment I have ever made. hands down.

Cochito Commish
Cochito Commish

@PWEEEEG @LA_Woman No, I agree with you. Mexico could play the greatest team in the World in soccer and beat them 5-0 and then beat the USA 1-0 and I'd be a lot happier about the USA game. 

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@Antonio G @LA_Woman if you dont believe it, all of the "biggest wins" for any team, Asian, Latino, will always come against USA. it's just a thing. 

MSTI OG
MSTI OG

@JoeyE @PWEEEEG not sure what the lineup is for SFG in game #2, but if its the standard lineup, they mash RHPs. i'd look for a lefty to start. but it's Don and Ned, so probably Billz or Buckett