It’s officially official. Hanley Ramirez is no longer a member of the Boston Red Sox and I couldn’t be more furious. The Red Sox citing reasons for roster flexibility and things of that nature but we all know why the team cut him. Ramirez has a $22 million vesting option in 2019 if he reaches a certain number of at-bats. He probably would have reached that vesting option unless Boston really reduced his playing time. However, regardless of the option, the Red Sox may have just cost themselves a World Series Title in 2018 on a win now team.
I’m still mad! Hanley Ramirez has always been one of my favorite players growing up. Hanley was supposed to be the next slugger to pair with David Ortiz for the next decade. I was robbed of that dream as well when ownership took it upon themselves to trade him for Josh Beckett. While I’m not complaining how the trade turned out because Beckett won Boston a title in 2007, Hanley should have never been touchable in trade talks. So as a young lunatic fan who watched Hanley’s minor league games in Portland and Pawtucket, it felt like a nightmare to put together a Hall of Fame career in Miami.
When the Red Sox ponied up to sign Ramirez in free agency years later, I thought I was going to get some sort of retribution for being robbed of him being in a Sox uniform during his prime years. Once again life proved to be unfair. Hanley was supposed to be the next DH to lead us into the post-David Ortiz era. He was supposed to win a championship in 2018 on what is a loaded roster. Again, I was robbed of what could have been.
Now You can talk about his regular season numbers all you want but Hanley is clutch when it counts. If you paid any attention to his career over the years, you would know that a random Tuesday in June, Hanley will go up there and strikeout 4 times and smile afterward. That rubs people the wrong way. In fact, it’s probably fair to say that Ramirez flat out doesn’t care at times during the regular season. But when it’s time to shine on the biggest stage, you see the talent Ramirez has. Ramirez has a career postseason batting line of .380/.455/.577. That’s over the course of 80 at-bats! All of them with the Dodgers and Red Sox, not during his prime years with the Marlins! I truly believe Hanley could have been one of the best players in baseball history if he cared like he did during the postseason but it’s exactly why the Red Sox needed him.
There’s no question that motivation has always been a problem with Hanley and missing David Ortiz in the clubhouse hurt his production. The numbers don’t like and Big Papi really helped him stay locked in through a full season.
2016 With Ortiz .286/.361/.505, 30 Home Runs, 111 RBI’s
2017 Without Ortiz .242/.320/.429, 23 Home Runs, 63 RBI’s
Come postseason time there’s no question that the Red Sox will miss his bat. Do you really trust Mitch Moreland to be a thumper in the middle of a lineup? Would you rather counter Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton with Mitch Moreland! Frankly, this decision was a flat-out mistake considering both Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia both went on the DL days later. Boston made this choice to save a few dollars a year from now but may have cost themselves a World Series title by doing so. Plus if we’re being honest, Craig Kimbrell is the only free agent they have to pay next year. I’ll be just fine if Drew Pomeranz signs with someone else. The Red Sox choose Blake Swihart (a third catcher who stinks) instead of a future Hall of Famer and it will never make sense.