The Boston Red Sox officially parted ways with Hanley Ramirez on Friday after designating him for assignment last week. It’s a decision that looks questionable now given the recent injuries to right fielder Mookie Betts and second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Nevertheless, there is bound to be a market for the former All-Star despite his less than stellar performance in 2018.
At this point in his career, the 34-year-old Ramirez is quite limited defensively. Boston was using him, exclusively, as a first baseman and designated hitter this year. He has experience all around the diamond, but his days of playing elsewhere in the infield are well behind him. There is potential he could see a few innings in left field for a club that’s willing to put up with subpar glove work in exchange for the possible offensive benefit that comes with it.
The Rockies find themselves at the top of a tight NL west despite having the worst collection of first basemen in MLB. Ian Desmond has seen most of the time at the position for Colorado. He has been remarkable awful, posting a .191/.242/.377 batting line in 55 games. Desmond’s contract runs through 2021, so the team isn’t about to cut him, but his role could be reduced in favor of a superior Ramirez on a one-year deal.
The defending World Champions are stacked, but the one position where the struggle is at first base. Marwin Gonzalez and Yulieski Gurriel have been splitting the workload, and it’s not going well. The group’s -0.1 WAR is the fourth-worst mark in the American League. Both Gonzalez and Gurriel could be cut with little financial implication. However, the more likely to go would be Gurriel as he is nearly 34 years old and only playing in his second full big league season.
Why not add another aging slugger to the mix? The Tigers aren’t going to win this season, or anytime soon for that matter. Not to mention, they have had the worst performing DH’s in the AL. Victor Martinez is hitting like the 39-year-old that he is; .251/.314/.363. Ramirez could be a useful fill-in should Martinez and Miguel Cabrera continue to have injury issues. There’s no reason to stretch the kids from the minors before they’re ready because of health problems in the bigs.
A homecoming for Ramirez could be in order. He made his name for the then-Florida Marlins nearly a decade ago. He will already be collecting a big check from the Red Sox for the remainder of the season and could sign for the league minimum. The Marlins aren’t about to sign a big money hitter in the midst of whatever it is that Derek Jeter is doing down there. But, they do need to put a better product on the field than they currently have. Both first base and left field (0.1 WAR, -0.3 WAR respectively) have been disasters. Ramirez could be a welcome signing for the fan base and a possible upgrade over the in-house options.
The end of the road
Ramirez has had a nice career. According to Baseball Reference, he’s already raked in $159 million in salary and has a closet full of awards. He may not be willing to sign a short-term, cheap deal, and he almost certainly will not be interested in heading to the minors. If a contract does not emerge that meets his liking he could also hang up the cleats for good.