Cleat Geeks

Ramirez at 1st?

Washington Nationals v Boston Red SoxHanley Ramirez had a barrage of nagging injuries and didn’t play after Aug. 26 due to right shoulder issues. In 105 games, Ramirez had 19 homers, 53 RBIs, and a sub-par line of .249/.291/.426. Now, he is getting a chance, to not only play at 1st base but be the starter.

“We’re committed to trying, to making the effort, and I believe Hanley is committed to making the effort to play first base,” said president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. “I will say that one thing that’s nice is we do have some protection in Travis Shaw if we’re in a spot. We also have a young player coming in Sam Travis who’s well-regarded. So there’s a little bit of depth right there that’s helpful.”

Ramirez has three years left on his contract, and the club will likely get more value if the veteran regains his production than if they are forced to fork over a considerable amount of cash to whichever team they trade him to. Hanley will be 32 years old in December and for each of the next 3 years, he is going to be paid $22,750,000. Plus, he has a vesting option for the 2019 at $22,000,000.

SoxPhotoRamirez’s first season in Boston was a major disappointment. Not only did he struggle to adapt to playing left field for the first time in his career, but his offensive production was well below what the club projected.

Ramirez did a lot of drills at first base late in the season, but he never played a game there.

“We need to do everything we can to make that work,” said Dombrowski. “We’re committed to it. I believe he’s committed to it. His representatives are committed to making it work. Will it work? Time will tell.”

General manager Mike Hazen doesn’t believe that Ramirez will play first base in a setting such as winter ball.

“No, that’s not part of the plan right now,” said Hazen. “It’s mostly getting in shape physically, getting ready to go for the season. We’ll have time in Spring Training. We’ll have plenty of time to look at that. We’d have to ramp him up physically, then shut him back down, so, no, we’re just going to focus on him coming in next year.”

To me, this seems like a team that can’t say they made a mistake, and have enough money to try to cover it up by simply moving him positions. It reaks of desperation. But, I guess if Manny can be Manny, then Hanley can be Hanley and Boston can be in last place.

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