Professional athletes are still just men. They get injured. They make mistakes. They disappoint. They fail. In the cases of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, the two men were not the only ones at fault for their nightmarish contributions to the Boston Red Sox. However, at least for 2015, the dawn has cast aside one of them, while the other may also have seen his last sunset in Fenway Park.
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The Red Sox have shut down Ramirez for the rest of the season, after the inflammation of his right shoulder not healing quickly enough for the team. Rogers Sportsnet, the sports media company in Canada, reported that “interim manager Torey Lovullo made the announcement before the Red Sox faced the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on Thursday. Ramirez has been sidelined since Aug. 27. He was placed on the disabled list Sept. 5.”
According to Alex Speier of The Boston Globe, the same may be said of the Red Sox third baseman:
Christopher Chavez of Sports Illustrated reported that “Sandoval will be reevaluated on Saturday before the Red Sox determine whether or not to bring him back for the team’s four-game series against the New York Yankees next week.”
It would be more unfortunate and pitiful if it wasn’t so pathetic, in terms of the optics.
Sandoval was to fill the gaping hole that the Red Sox had at the hot corner, a position that saw a bunch of men fail to handle it since Mike Lowell. Ramirez was brought in to be a huge bat with good hands for the tricky issues in left field, the position that saw the Red Sox trade Yoenis Cespedes to the Detroit Tigers for pitcher Rick Porcello. It cost Boston $95 million in five years for Sandoval and $88 million in four years for Ramirez, last offseason. Former general manager Ben Cherington felt that those were the best moves that he could made, parading both men around Boston and in the media like they were trophies.
Both players quickly lost their lustre.
Jul 2, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez (13) celebrates with Boston Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval (48) at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Between injuries to almost any part of the body that you could remember, questionable dehydration issues after running the bases, illnesses, inflammations, and down-right poor play on both sides of the plate, Ramirez and Sandoval find themselves on the bench.
Ramirez had a good start to his RBI total, but has officially ended 2015 with a slash line of .249/.291/.426 with 19 home runs and 53 RBIs in 105 games. He had 46 of those RBIs before the All-Star Game, before his notorious history of injuries reared its ugly head, again.
If it’s true that Sandoval may sit out the rest of the season, he has ended 2015 with a slash line of .245/.292/.366 with 10 home runs and 47 RBIs in 126 games. He’s never been below 63 RBIs in his career, other than his rookie season which he had 24 RBIs in 41 games in 2008. Sandoval had 90 RBIs in the following year. Not so much, this season.
That being said, it’s not like Cherington and the Red Sox were unaware of each man’s issues. Signing both men for so much money was going to be a guaranteed risk in each situation.
Desperation? Perspiration? Whatever you want to call it, Cherington put his faith and his career in the hands of Ramirez and Sandoval, with Porcello and the other members of the starting rotation providing their own factor into the mix. Essentially, Cespedes, a good outfielder who has a .291/.328/.551 slash line, 35 homers, and 103 RBIs, was traded for an aging shortstop who pretended to be an outfielder and hit half as well, a pitcher who has an 8-14 record and a 5.04 ERA, and a third baseman who doesn’t even hit his weight at 255 pounds.
Cherington didn’t even wait for his trades to come around. Arguably, while both Ramirez and Sandoval have floundered, Porcello has turned his season around a bit. Apparently, not good enough for Cherington to have hope that he would keep his job in Boston at the end of the season. Cherington left of his own free will soon after Dave Dombrowski, the new Red Sox president of baseball operations, was hired. The writing was on the wall that Cherington’s moves were bad choices, and he skedaddled before the waves of media negativity drowned him.
Can both Ramirez and Sandoval be traded? Can either be traded? With their contracts, that would be a pretty tall order for Dombrowski and the new general manager, Mike Hazen. Anything is possible; however, considering that the Red Sox may not play either man for the rest of the year, the players can’t show their trade value at the plate or in the field. If anything, keeping both players from playing may actually help their net worth. They can’t lower their worth any more than they already have with poor play if they’re not out there to show it.
Whatever happens between now and the 2016 season, at least Red Sox Nation doesn’t have to look at these two men with any more disappointment than they already have, this season. But hey, there’s always next year.
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