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Carl Crawford to the Marlins for Hanley Ramirez, Heath Bell?

Hanley Ramirez

On Wednesday afternoon, baseball trade rumors reached a new height when news broke that the Red Sox were gauging the interest in outfielder Carl Crawford, and that amongst potential suitors the Miami Marlins could be willing to deal both infielder Hanley Ramirez and reliever Heath Bell.

Such a potential trade would involve an incredible amount of money, making it difficult to pull off. Crawford is in the second year of a $142 million contract he signed with Boston, and has been seen as a significant disappointment thus far. Similarly Ramirez, in the fourth year of a $70 million contract, and Bell was signed by Miami this past offseason to a three-year, $27 million deal as the top free agent closer on the market.

From the Red Sox perspective, moving Crawford would be ideal considering his 2011 struggles and various injury concerns this year, as he has only just returned to the team to start his 2012 season for the past two games. Crawford is one of the key high-priced free agent signings under former general manager Theo Epstein which have turned out badly.

The Marlins, on the other hand, are attempting to figure out whether they can compete for a playoff spot this season as their new ballpark and busy offseason has not led to a successful roster. The team is 44-46 in 2012, struggling to stay in contention for the second wild card in the National League. Moving two players who have not lived up to expectations in Ramirez and Bell would be a good step towards rebuilding for next year, however adding Crawford certainly wouldn’t help the team financially long term.

The only way a deal of this magnitude could work out is if the Marlins are receiving significant pitching in return. Most of the Marlins starting staff, including Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez, will become free agents in the near future, and the team will need fresh faces to build around their young core.

I don’t expect the teams to be able to make the swap simply because of the names and money involved. Plus Ramirez doesn’t necessarily project as a longterm shortstop, as the Marlins have shifted him to third base this year. It’s fun to talk about, but in the end expect to see Crawford in a Sox uniform for good and for bad until the end of the year.

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