Under what circumstances might the Florida Marlins risk a less than stellar relationship with a young talent as otherwordly as Hanley Ramirez?. Earlier this year, the shortstop ran afoul of the club’s dress code, and in today’s Palm Beach Post, Greg Stoda testifies, “if anyone – my hand is raised – was prepared to view Ramirez as the face of the Florida franchise, it now should be regarded as premature consideration.”
Ramirez himself, for example, isn’t making that assumption.
“I don’t think of it that way,” Ramirez said at his locker in the Marlins clubhouse before Tuesday night’s 7-0 loss to Cincinnati. “It’s a business. I’m happy my family is set for a long time. It’s not going to change how I play baseball.”
He wasn’t surly, sullen or abrupt. But he wasn’t gleeful, either.
But when Ramirez mentioned his dreams for a long career, he didn’t say he hopes he’ll forever wear a Marlins uniform. That’s business, too, of course, and neither did Ramirez, to be fair, say he doesn’t want to be a career Marlin.
But any sense of real affection seems to be lacking, and from management’s side as well.
“A face of a franchise is developed, not anointed,” said Marlins President David Samson. “It’s not a title easily given; it’s earned.
“Hanley is recognizing his value as a leader, but not every franchise has to have a face.”
Doesn’t sound as though the Marlins are all that interested in campaigning for Ramirez as the player with whom they are most identified. That has been standard procedure for the franchise bosses.
Ramirez, though, did sign a heavily back-loaded deal – approximately two-thirds of the money is due across the final three years of the contract – and it was Larry Beinfest, who’s in charge of baseball operations, who once said the agreement “is about 2012, 2013 and 2014.”
What are the chances Ramirez won’t be there with them? That’s a $70 million question, and a reasonable guess is that it’s nothing more than an even-odds proposition that Ramirez will be a Marlin in three years.