Red Sox: Hanley Ramirez aims to return to productive ways of Miami days

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Hanley Ramirez
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Hanley Ramirez /

Once upon a time Hanley Ramirez was the Boston Red Sox top prospect. Now, Hanley Ramirez claims that he is hungrier and more confident than ever.

Not much has been happening in the baseball world this offseason, and it has become an absolute drag for us fans. But there are many things that could be happening in the following months, including the addition of J.D. Martinez to the Boston Red Sox.

One thing that some fans may not have thought of is the impact that this addition would have on the team, besides the addition of a power bat into the lineup. With the outfield filled with the likes of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts, and Mitch Moreland being signed to a 2-year deal at first base, that only leaves DH as an available spot for Martinez. But where does that leave Hanley Ramirez?

It seems as though Hanley may be the man left out in this situation, due in part to his down year this past season, as well as his inflexibility to play positions other than first base and DH now. Hanley also has a 2019 option that vests based on the number of plate appearances he receives this season, which is 497, so the addition of Martinez could cost Hanley more than just playing time in the 2018 season. Most would see this as threatening, a chance to perhaps even get Wally Pipped. But not Hanley.

After being one of the pieces traded from the Red Sox to bring the likes of Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett to the team from the Florida Marlins, Hanley won Rookie of the Year, was a three-time All-Star and added two Silver Sluggers. Now, Hanley Ramirez claims that he is hungrier and more confident than ever, and wants to be the star he was with the Marlins again.

Hanley has always been a loved player in Red Sox Nation. But Red Sox fans are harsh and true, and if you aren’t producing in Boston, you lose fans fast. That is why it is welcoming to see this confidence and drive from Hanley, who is on the verge of losing a few fans after his lackluster 2017 season. In baseball, if you can hit you play. I believe this to be the case here as well, even if they bring Martinez in. And I definitely believe that when Hanley puts his mind to it, he can really be an amazing baseball player, evident to his time with the Florida Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers.

I still remember when I was young and heard the news that Ramirez had been traded. I didn’t know much about baseball or the players yet, but I did remember watching a video of Hanley. And I liked him. A lot. He was one of those players that really stuck out because of his swagger, style, and charisma, reminding me a lot about how Manny Ramirez played the game. He made a statement and he was one of the best young, budding stars of the game.

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While with the Florida Marlins, his most impressive feats were his MVP runner-up season to an unbelievable Albert Pujols season, and his Rookie of the Year award he won the year after being traded by the Red Sox.

A lot has changed though since his 2009 MVP Runner-up season. Hanley is no longer the slick and smooth shortstop that he used to be, and he probably won’t be stealing 50+ bases anymore like his Rookie season. He is no longer 170 pounds like he was entering the league, having added significant weight to be a 240-pound beast that we know today. Imagine if 2009 “Miami Hanley” was going to be on the Red Sox next year? Oh my.

I would love more than anything for the reappearance of the young Ramirez that we all missed out on watching in a Red Sox uniform in his best years. Though I feel his body has definitely changed from his 2009 MVP Runner-up season, that’s not to say that he can’t get back to the mentality he had when he was with the Marlins. It seems he is more motivated than ever and ready to make a statement.

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Even if we don’t get to see a .342 season with 27 stolen bases, there is a chance we could see more then 24 HR’s and 106 RBI’s that he put up in his Runner-up season. Maybe this new mentality and motivation from Hanley Ramirez is exactly what the 2018 Boston Red Sox need to take the next step.