Marlins trade Ramirez to Dodgers

The Miami Marlins’ shocking midseason rebuild continued with a blockbuster trade after 2 a.m. ET Wednesday: They sent mercurial star Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate to the Dodgers for young pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough.

The trade will have lasting ramifications for the entire National League. The Dodgers, 2 1/2 games behind the archrival Giants in the West, made clear their intent to reach the postseason in their first year under new ownership. The trade amounted to a show of financial might for the Dodgers; Ramirez, 28, is earning $15 million this season, and no cash was included in the deal.

The Marlins, meanwhile, parted with a player who for years had been called the face of that franchise — but who is hitting only .246 with 14 home runs and 48 RBI in 93 games this season. Ramirez was in his first season at third base, following the arrival of $106 million shortstop Jose Reyes. Ramirez’s strong preference is to play shortstop, and the position switch may have contributed to his unhappiness this season. In Los Angeles, it will be up to manager Don Mattingly to decide where Ramirez best fits into the lineup, a source said.

The Marlins are 45-52, fourth in the NL East. They are 12-1/2 games out of first place. In a little more than 24 hours — including Monday’s trades of Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers — the Marlins trimmed nearly $20 million from next year’s payroll.

“We had to do something,” Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. “The machine was sputtering. It’s too good a baseball team and for some reason it didn’t seem to be operating on all cylinders from the beginning of the season.”

Of Ramirez, Loria said, “It’s no secret I love the kid. He needs to have a fresh beginning, a new beginning. This is a very painful moment for me. But we had to do something.”

With attendance below expectations and a star-studded lineup underperforming, the Marlins have effectively admitted that they erred in the construction of what was supposed to be a postseason team. Meanwhile, the Dodgers acquired a sought-after power threat for the left side of their infield — a moody-yet-talented star who might be rejuvenated in a batting order with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Ramirez is under contract for two years and $31.5 million beyond the end of this year.

The move was part of a larger plan for the Dodgers, who intend to acquire a starting pitcher before next Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs remains a realistic target for the Dodgers, according to one source with knowledge of the discussions.

Choate, a free agent at the end of the year, will give the Dodgers the experienced left-handed presence their bullpen has lacked. He has a 2.49 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 44 appearances this season.

Eovaldi, 22, had been a member of the Dodgers’ major-league roster. He is 1-6 with a 4.15 ERA in 10 big-league starts. McGough, 22, has a 3.99 ERA in 35 relief appearances in the high Class A California League.