NL East News: Hanley Ramirez Dealt to Dodgers, Cole Hamles Signs Extension with Hamels

By Matt Musico

Coming into this season, a lot of baseball analysts had the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins at the top of their projected NL East standings. The Phillies are five-time defending division champions, while the Marlins decided to spend some imaginary money to acquire Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, and Heath Bell. Less than a week before the trade deadline, both teams occupy the basement of the division, and have been extreme disappointments this season. The Marlins continued in their role as sellers, as reports this morning say Hanley Ramirez is headed to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Phillies have locked up lefty Cole Hamels to a historic six-year deal.

With three years left on a six-year/ $70 million contract, why would the Marlins trade away what was once the centerpiece of their future plans? Well, he’s got about $46 million left on his current contract, and he’s not lived up to the expectations that were set for him. In his first five seasons with the Marlins, he won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award, went to three All-Star games, won two Silver Sluggers, hit over .300 four times, and won the 2009 NL batting title with a .342 average. He’s struggled greatly since last season, hitting .243/.333/.379 in 2011 with only 10 home runs and 45 in an injury plagued season where he appeared in only 92 games.

He moved over to third base this season to make room for prized off-season acquisition, Jose Reyes, but he’s still not the same

Hanley, as he’s hitting .246/.322/.430 with 14 homers and 47 RBI. Even though Ramirez was only hitting .233 against the Mets this season, they are certainly happy to see him leave the division and join the Dodgers, as they will now only have to see him six or seven times a season for the next few years, and will not be seeing him again in 2012 as their season series with LA finished last weekend.

Meanwhile, with some good news comes some bad news for the Mets, as sources are reporting that the Phillies and Cole Hamels have agreed to a six-year/$144 million extension with their young left hander. Hamels was supposed to be a free agent at the end of the season and there were rumors that GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. was shopping his southpaw around looking for a trade with Philly not in a pennant race, but instead they make him the second highest-paid pitcher in MLB history. The 2008 World Series MVP has by far been the best pitcher for the Phillies this season, putting together an 11-4 record, 3.23 ERA, and 1.12 WHIP. This deal gives Philadelphia two strong left-handed pitchers in Hamels and Cliff Lee for the foreseeable future. Oh, and by the way, they have Roy Halladay for at least next year as well.

So, as always, it will be tough to hit against the Phillies with Hamels sticking around, but the Marlins lost a big hitter out of their lineup in trading away Ramirez. Just in case you were wondering if the Mets were planning on doing anything, it doesn’t look like they’ll be buyers or sellers at this point, just holding on to what they currently have and continue to make it through the season.