Should Hanley Ramirez play shortstop or third base for the Dodgers in 2013? It's a question that seems likely to linger for much of the season, well beyond the point at which the Dodgers have to commit to playing the 29-year-old enigma at one of those two positions.

The word thus far from the team is that Ramirez wants to play shortstop and will be given every opportunity to keep the shortstop job in spring training, but both general manager Ned Colletti and field manager Don Mattingly have said that Ramirez's defense at the position needs to improve. Ramirez is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic with that goal in mind, but one wonders just how much difference a few weeks of winter ball are going to make in the defensive skills of a player who has played 7,667 major league innings at shortstop without showing any consistent signs of progress.

The Dodgers' theory seems to be that since Ramirez spent the last two months of the 2011 season on the disabled list and the first four months of the 2012 season playing third base for the Marlins, thus going a calendar year between starts at the position, what they saw down the stretch was a rusty shortstop, not a bad one. That's a very optimistic take given the state of Ramirez's defense at shortstop prior to that year away from the position.