Red Sox castoff Hanley Ramirez receiving interest from multiple teams

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 16: Hanley Ramirez
FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 16: Hanley Ramirez /

Former Boston Red Sox first baseman Hanle Ramirez has reportedly received interest from multiple teams looking to sign him as a free agent.

The Boston Red Sox were no longer interested in keeping Hanley Ramirez on their roster but other teams might be.

According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, multiple teams have shown interest in Ramirez now that he’s a free agent.

The signing of Ramirez to a 4-year, $88 million proved to be a regrettable decision for the Red Sox. He sandwiched one solid season between two horrendous ones. A quick start to Year Four quickly faded into an abysmal slump in May, prompting the team to cut ties with the veteran.

Boston is still on the hook for the approximate $14.5 million remaining on Ramirez’ contract. That money is a sunk cost at this point. Moving on from Ramirez now was their chance to avoid the threat of his looming $22 million option for 2019. They couldn’t afford to let him reach the 497 plate appearances it would take to trigger that option but cutting his playing time risked turning Ramirez into a malcontent who could disrupt the clubhouse.

Other teams won’t have those same concerns. Any club that signs Ramirez now isn’t going to be on the hook for that vesting option no matter how many plate appearances they give him. While no team was going to trade for Ramirez’ bloated contract, scooping him off the scrap heap for a prorated portion of the league minimum salary is a different story.

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There’s still enough upside with Ramirez for a contending team to take a chance on him. This is a player who was hitting .330 with a .874 OPS at the end of April. You can bet he’ll be highly motivated to lead his new team to the postseason where he may get the opportunity to stick it to the team that gave up on him.

For a price tag that is next to nothing by MLB standards, there’s not much risk in adding Ramirez. If he doesn’t pan out, they can always cut ties with him just as the Red Sox did. Only it won’t cost his next team nearly as much to do so.

The Baltimore Orioles have been rumored to be showing interest in Ramirez but they seem like an odd fit. They aren’t a contender and have a roster loaded with defensively challenged infielders who are better served in the DH role.

The Houston Astros are a team to watch out for. They aren’t getting much out of Evan Gattis in the DH spot (.224/.293/.429). First baseman Yuli Gurriel sports a solid .291 average but has only one home run and a meager .379 slugging percentage. That won’t cut it at a position that typically comes with some pop. Hanley may be well past his prime but he’s an upgrade at the plate over both.

The surprising Seattle Mariners enter the day a game ahead of the Astros for the division lead. They may need another bat to bolster their lineup if they intend to fend off the reigning champs. The M’s already have Nelson Cruz locked in at DH. Would Hanley be enough of an upgrade over Ryon Healy?

A nightmare scenario for the Red Sox would be if Hanley joined the New York Yankees only to thrive in the lineup of their fiercest rival. It’s hard to see how Ramirez would fit on that team with Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and a bevy of others rotating through the DH spot. The Yankees could put him at first base but probably want to see what they have with Greg Bird now that he’s finally healthy. New York doesn’t need Hanley but maybe they sign him anyway just to stick it to their division foe?

None of the other AL possibilities pose a threat to the Red Sox even if they brought Ramirez on board. We can’t rule out a few NL teams willing to let Hanley play first base. The Colorado Rockies could use an upgrade at the position. You can never rule out the Los Angeles Dodgers, especially with Cody Bellinger enduring a brutal sophomore slump.

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It’s unclear if any of these teams are among the ones Cafardo hinted at but you can see how each of them could see the need. His torrid April shows Ramirez is still capable of helping a contender if he can get back on a hot streak. A change of scenery may be just what he needs to get going again.