Former Boston Red Sox Hanley Ramirez signs with the Cleveland Indians
Two-time Red Sox player Hanley Ramirez, released in June of 2018, has reportedly been given another chance in the MLB with the Cleveland Indians.
Former Red Sox superstar Hanley Ramirez has reportedly agreed to a minor-league deal with the Cleveland Indians. MLB Fox reporter Ken Rosenthal announced the news on Saturday evening. Pending his physical, Ramirez will have a one-year deal, earning a guaranteed $1 million.
The 35-year-old infielder was DFA’d and later released by the Red Sox in June of 2018. Dave Dombrowski said the move was baseball-related involving factors such as Dustin Pedroia’s return, Mitch Moreland’s performance at first base, the versatility of other players on the roster that could have been DFA’d instead, and Ramirez’s contract. His contract likely played the biggest role in the decision.
Ironically, as the season progressed Mitch Moreland wound up battling injuries. In order to replace him and offer an alternative at first base, the Red Sox signed Steve Pearce. It was the second time that Ramirez had parted ways with the Red Sox. Pearce performed outstandingly well, but I find myself wondering what would have happened if HanRam was still wearing a Red Sox jersey.
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At the age of 21, Ramirez was one of baseball’s elite prospects. Looking at his accomplishments so far in the game he was Rookie of the Year, 3x All-Star, 2x Silver Slugger, and has a Batting Title under his belt. Ramirez has a career .290 BA, .361 OBP, and a .487 SLG. He’s been in the Majors for 14 years. During his career, he’s played with the Marlins, Red Sox, and Dodgers. He’s played all over the field: shortstop, third base, outfield, first base, and DH.
If you’ve been following the Red Sox or Hanley Ramirez for a long time, you’ll remember that during his return to Boston in 2012 when he was 31-years of age, he was tasked with playing in the outfield. This ended up being mismanagement of his skill sets. The outfield wasn’t exactly the perfect fit for him.
Why would the Red Sox sign Ramirez to a four-year deal worth $88 million and place him in a position that he’s never played? Ramirez agreed to play where the team needed him, in return for a massive contract and a second chance on the team that started it all. Ramirez explained his perspective on the situation,
"“I feel like I’m back with my family. I was 21 when they traded me, and it was hard. I got mad. But at the same time, it worked for both of us. They won, and I felt like that should have been me. But it made me hungry. That’s why I came back.”"
From the management side, Ramirez had speed and a good arm. The team had young talent in their outfield. That’s where Ramirez (in theory) would come in. He could lead the young team. The mismanagement happened by the idea that a 31-year old, who is a true infielder having never played outfield in the minors or majors could make that adjustment and excel in that position.
Many Red Sox fans, myself included, were shocked by the team’s decision to move on from HanRam. He has a charismatic personality and fans were not happy with the decision.
Looking at 2016-2018, his offensive performance dropped. I think he’s still got some gas in his tank. 2019 could mark a big comeback year for Hanley. I’m not the only one who believes in him as Alex Cora shares a similar opinion.
The move is low-risk for the Indians. They’re adding a strong leader, a charismatic man, and a goofy character to their club. Ramirez would likely split his playing time alternating between first base and DH.
It’s great to see Hanley getting another shot in the Majors after his latest stint with the Red Sox didn’t work out. If in the right health and mindset he can be a major asset to any club. Hopefully, this will be the opportunity he’s looking for and he can bounce back in his career.