May 25, 2018

Hanley Ramirez Has Been Designated For Assignment

The Red Sox have designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment to open up a roster spot for returning second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

I knew about Ramirez's vesting option for 2019, but this news still comes completely out of the blue. You don't want your President of Baseball Operations to truly understand the word "sentimental", but damn, Dave Dombrowski is nothing if not bold.

Alex Speier, Globe:
The decision to part ways with the 34-year-old Ramirez may avoid a potentially awkward situation related to his $22 million vesting option for 2019. With a total of 497 plate appearances this year, Ramirez would have been guaranteed another $22 million next season. He'd already accumulated 195, putting him on pace to blow past the required number to secure his salary for next season.

The Sox were prepared to let Ramirez stay in the lineup and let the option vest if his production warranted it. But after he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Thursday, he is now hitting .254/.313/.395 for the season, with a .708 OPS that ranks 30th among 44 first basemen with at least 100 plate appearances. ...

Starting with an 0-for-6 game May 1 and continuing through the 0-for-4 night Thursday that extended his hitless stretch to five games (0-for-20), Ramirez struggled to a .163/.200/.300 line this month while seeing his ground-ball rate soar (59 percent of balls in play in May).

The poor numbers aren't isolated. They represent a step down from his 2017 struggles (.242/.320/.429), and likewise hearken to his 2015 season (.249/.291/.426). Over a two-season period beginning last year, Ramirez ranks in the bottom five among big league first basemen in Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Fangraphs.

Despite his promising start to this season, Ramirez has been a below-average player over a significant period.
Chad Jennings, The Athletic:
If Ramirez was to be paid like a star player, he'd have to produce like a star player. ...

For a while, Ramirez was worth it. Through his first 21 games, Ramirez hit .329 with an .879 OPS. He even stole three bases.

But in his past 23 games, since April 27, Ramirez hit just .189 with a .559 OPS. He hit three home runs in a span of four games, but he had no extra-base hits since May 14.

A fresh reading of the situation: If his option was going to vest, Ramirez was going to have to earn it. And if he didn't earn it, the Red Sox were going to move on, which they've done.
Sean McAdam, Boston Sports Journal:
The Red Sox now have seven days to trade or release Ramirez, as it's unfathomable that any team would take on the approximately $15 million he has remaining for this season as part of the final guaranteed year on his deal. Since the Red Sox will be responsible for that if he's not picked up elsewhere, they will likely signal a willingness to take back a good chunk of the remaining money to increase the chances of a deal. ...

If, as expected, Ramirez isn't traded, he'll almost certainly clear waivers. A team could them claim him and pay him the pro-rated minimum salary — while the Red Sox responsible for the remaining $15 million — while also getting out from underneath the vesting option for 2019, since Ramirez will, in effect, be signing a "new contract" with that team. ...

With Ramirez out of the picture, the Red Sox have effectively made Mitch Moreland an everyday player. Moreland has participated in just two-thirds of the team's games to date ... [and he] has the team's third-best OPS at 1.001, behind only Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez.

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