Leandre: Red Sox Should Reunite With Hanley Ramirez
Photo: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
On Friday, the Red Sox placed Dustin Pedroia back on the 10-Day Disabled List with left knee inflammation in the same knee that he had surgically repaired this past offseason.
Back on May 24, the Sox activated the 34-year-old second baseman from the DL, and in turn, they designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment. The Red Sox officially released Ramirez back on Thursday and he is now free to sign with any team that so desires to pay for his services, including the Baltimore Orioles, who emerged as the early favorite to bring in the Dominican slugger.
With that in mind, factoring in Pedroia’s placement on the DL on Friday and then Mookie Betts hitting the shelf on Saturday, it’s almost as if karma is striking Dave Dombrowski for releasing a fan favorite in Ramirez.
This begs the question—should the Red Sox entertain the idea of resigning Ramirez to the league minimum, on top of the $15 million they still owe him, for him to play out the rest of the season?
Now I know what you may be wondering—if the Red Sox were so worried about Ramirez getting to 497 plate appearances in 2018 so they wouldn’t have to pay his $22 million option for 2019, why would they bring him back immediately after releasing him?
For starters, with Betts and Pedroia out for the immediate future, the Red Sox are now lacking a bit of offensive firepower. While Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland are swinging hot bats right now, they’re not the type of guys with the track record and power that Hanley Ramirez possesses. Even though Hanley had a horrendous May—statistically his worst month every season—his track record says that he’s more likely to get red-hot than he is to stay in this rut.
As far as his at-bats are concerned, the 34-year-old All-Star is waiting on a new contract to further his 2018 season. Once he signs his new deal, he will be playing on the terms of that contract. Even though he will continue to get paid the money owed to him on his previous contract, the incentives for plate appearances is now void.
So the Red Sox would just be paying Ramirez roughly $600,000 more this season if they brought him back, with no risk of him being here in 2019. He will still be a free agent after the 2018 season, so there’s no risk whatsoever.