Former Boston Red Sox infielder Hanley Ramirez is not under federal investigation despite reports that he was eyed in connection to a drug related arrest.
Being friends with former Boston Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez must have its fair share of perks. Apparently getting out of an arrest isn’t one of them.
The free agent infielder made headlines this week when Michele McPhee of ABC News reported that Ramirez was being eyed in connection with an ongoing federal and state investigation. We have since learned that Ramirez is in the clear. The only thing he’s guilty of is bad judgement in selecting his friends.
The Boston Globe reports that a friend dropped Ramirez’ name to police in an effort to avoid arrest when he was caught transporting fentanyl from New York to Massachusetts. His plan backfired.
The man was pulled over by State Police in April based on an informant’s tip to the DEA. He claimed to be on his way to Boston to visit a friend, who sources identified as Ramirez. A search of the man’s jeep revealed a box in the rear cargo area that the man declined to provide consent to open. He claimed the box belonged to Ramirez. He called his friend via FaceTime to try to get him to corroborate the story.
Unfortunately for him, Ramirez wasn’t willing to play along. He denied any knowledge of the box and gave police permission to open it. They found two kilograms of fentanyl, which the man immediately confirmed was not being delivered to Ramirez.
Ramirez is not under investigation and has not been linked to a drug ring, according to the Globe’s report. His only involvement in this story is the misfortune of having a “friend” who would try to use him to get out of trouble. If anything, Ramirez deserves credit for telling the truth, preventing a drug trafficker from getting away.
Did the Red Sox know?
News of Ramirez’ possible connection to this incident stirred controversy in Red Sox Nation. The timeline of when this arrest took place in relation to when Ramirez was designated for assignment was unclear, yet close enough to arouse suspicion.
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Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg released a statement on Friday indicating that the team had no knowledge of an investigation. His release from the team was strictly for baseball reasons. You can understand why fans would be hesitant to believe that given the abrupt release of one of the team’s highest paid players.
At this point, it’s safe to assume the team is telling the truth. It would be a bad look for the organization if they released a player based on a rumor of their connection to a crime. They would have needed more concrete facts in order to come to that decision. Facts they wouldn’t have had given how quickly the rumor was dispelled.
It also wouldn’t have made any sense from a financial standpoint. If Ramirez was involved then the team could have simply suspended him without pay. They would still free up the roster spot they needed at the time. It also would have saved them a ton of money.
Ramirez has been a free agent since his release on June 1. There’s been barely a whisper of interest in the veteran. Was that because rumors of a drug scandal leaked throughout other major league offices? Probably not. Although, at least if that was the case then teams can no longer use it as an excuse.
It remains to be seen if Ramirez will be scooped up by another team. At least if he doesn’t play again this year it will be based on what he proves capable of doing on the field. Not potential legal ramifications he may face off the field.