This morning I broke the news to my three-year old daughter that her first favorite player, Hanley Ramirez, was going to be on the Boston Red Sox next season.
She asked “Is Hammy going to put his Dodger stuff on later?”
My already broken Dodger fan heart was then torn into smaller bits. I questioned whether I should tell her at all. How do you explain free agency to a three-year old? The thing is, Ali was already asking about Hanley this offseason. “What’s Hammy doing?” was a question that popped up a couple of times this winter. She also told me numerous times that she wants to give Hanley Ramirez a hug.
I remember the sadness I felt when Mike Piazza was traded away or when Mike Scioscia was no longer a Dodger. It’s inevitable that some of your favorite Dodgers will move on with their careers at some point. Even though I like to imagine most retiring with their Blue still intact. Can you imagine Clayton Kershaw not being a forever Dodger? I don’t even like to think about it.
Not only did the Dodgers lose a huge offensive threat out of their lineup, but they also lost a fan favorite. Even though Hanley was only with the Dodgers for a short
I’ll miss you, Hanley. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
period, his brief time in Blue really left an impression. Monster moon shots and his signature helmet falling swing were highlighted by his “I See You” shtick which was extremely fun.
Hanley comes full circle as he rejoins his original team in Boston. He only played in two games with the Red Sox back in 2005 before being traded to the Marlins. Hanley will be playing in Boston along with Big Papi and Pablo Sandoval. There will no longer be Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe hanging out in the Dodger dugout talking in animated Spanish next season. Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe will have to make sure the clubhouse stays stylish and fun.
I agree with everything Adrian Garcia wrote about how Hanley’s departure leaves a large hole in the middle of the order for the Dodgers. He’s a former batting champion, a postseason weapon and a overall gifted player. Hanley is one of the most talented hitters I have ever seen play. His beautiful swing is not going anywhere. Boston got the best of both worlds by signing Hanley and being able to use him as a designated hitter, third base or even in the outfield. The Dodgers, with an oversupply of outfielders, a Gold Glove worthy third baseman and no designated hitter, couldn’t see Hanley playing shortstop for them again next season.
His defense was never elite, but there were plenty of times I saw Hanley make some nice plays in the field. He wasn’t the worst I have seen, and his athleticism and offensive skills surely balance out some of his other weaknesses. The biggest hurdle for the Dodgers was Hanley’s injuries. If Hanley was able to stay healthy and play more consistently, perhaps he would have been offered a similar contract by the Dodgers for 2015 and beyond.
It’s sad to see Hanley go not only because he is a great player and the Dodgers are a lesser team without him, but my daughter’s first Dodger heartbreak came way too early. As Dodger fans, we know heartbreak. 26 years of emotional annual journeys have toughened me up a bit when it comes to disappointment, but my daughter’s Dodger journey has just begun. Watching her point and say “Hammy’s up!” when he came up to bat this past season were priceless moments. She was captivated by Hanley’s electric smile and his silly looking dreadlocks as we all were. Hanley is one of those players which can change a game with one swing and one smile. He loved Los Angeles, and we loved him.
Perhaps if the Dodgers do somehow acquire Yasmani Grandal and Alexei Ramirez the loss of Hanley will sting a little less. Yet with the underwhelming moves the new front office has made thus far this offseason, I can only mourn the loss of Hanley right now. Hanley will be soon hitting rockets off the Green Monster, but who will the Dodgers replace his bat with?
So long, Hanley. I will See You around.