We all pretty much knew it was coming, but it still has a tinge of shock behind it.
Hanley Ramirez is reportedly headed to Boston on Monday to sign what could be a 5-year, $90 million deal. Ramirez signing in the American League was all but assured, and now he’ll be reunited with the club that signed him as an amateur free agent 14 years ago.
Ramirez’s time with the Dodgers spanned about two and a half years, and he ended up being one of the best “shortstops” the Dodgers ever had. In his time, he hit .299/.368/.506 in 278 career games as a Dodger, including a ridiculous .345/.402/.638 in 2013. Unfortunately, he was only able to play 86 games that year and he had a good 2014, but it looked worse than it actually was compared to his 2013.
His addition to the Red Sox could be coupled with their potential signing of Pablo Sandoval, which would promise to be one of the least rangy left sides of the infield in baseball history. But Ken Rosenthal reports Ramirez would play left field if the Red Sox were to sign Sandoval. I get trying to add as much talent as possible, but this seems like a bit much. Ramirez has a history of lower-body/back issues. I don’t think him running around an albeit short left field will do things for his long-term health and effectiveness. He really needs to be playing first base, but the Red Sox have Mike Napoli locked up for $16 million this season. Xander Bogaerts, a superior defender, will handle shortstop. If nothing else, the left side of Boston’s defense promises to be interesting. Bogaerts won’t have to worry about staying in shape, as he’ll be doing the most running of any big league shortstop for the foreseeable future.
The Dodgers will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds of the 2015 MLB Draft for losing Ramirez in free agency. He rejected the Dodgers’ qualifying offer a couple weeks ago.
The departure of Ramirez leaves a gaping hole at shortstop for the Dodgers. Erisbel Arruebarrena has to be considered the front-runner of the available options, but his attitude issues and inability to hit will hurt those chances. Miguel Rojas is a fine defense-only backup, but he isn’t a starter. Justin Turner is much better suited at second and third base.
Last week, I looked at the possibility of Jimmy Rollins, while Daniel looked at Alexei Ramirez a few weeks ago. Both would be a substantial all-around upgrade to Arruebarrena. Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi will figure it out, as there’s a 5 percent chance (an arbitrary, yet liberal prediction) that Arruebarrena is the team’s starting shortstop in 2015.
It’s been real, Hanley. I know I’ll never forget that magical, yet shortened, 2013 performance, and trying to play through the broken rib in the playoffs. People can give him crap for his poor defense, but they can never question his heart.