This afternoon, the Boston Red Sox announced they had designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment. The New York Mets and Colorado Rockies would seem to be two teams who can improve themselves by signing Ramirez. The Mets need to get there first.
Realizing they already had “their guy” when they signed Mitch Moreland to a team favorable contract during the offseason, and that Moreland was outperforming Hanley Ramirez, the Boston Red Sox made a heady move today by designating Ramirez for assignment (DFA).
The Red Sox now have seven days to trade Ramirez (not likely), after which Hanley Ramirez will become a free agent with the option of choosing the next team he plays for. Any number of teams could be in the mix of those hoping to catch lightning in a bottle by signing Ramirez, and the Mets should be in the forefront of those teams.
I’ve seen enough of Adrian Gonzalez, and his paltry eight extra-base hits this season to know you need a microscope to find his last productive season in a big league uniform, and the chances of a re-kindle are also microscopic. The Mets can release or DFA him and suffer little or no damage to their payroll since they are responsible only for the minimum major-league portion of his bloated salary (the Braves carry the rest).
Should the Mets decide to make a move by signing Hanley Ramirez, the same payroll advantage will apply, as the Red Sox will pick up the remainder of the (roughly) 11 million dollars owed to him this year. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and in the same way, the Mets recently signed over-the-hill Jose Bautista, who was fresh from a failed 13 game tryout with the Atlanta Braves.
Here’s why the Mets need Hanley Ramirez, though. Brandon Nimmo, Jay Bruce, and Michael Conforto are all regulars at the top of the Mets lineup. They are also all left-handed bats, offset only by Yoenis Cespedes on days when he feels like playing (pardon me). Ramirez adds the threat, even if it’s not always real, of a power bat from the right side, much like the Yankees had the presence of Alex Rodriguez in their lineup on his way down.
But there’s another interesting thing about the move made by the Red Sox because no one I’ve heard from is saying that Hanley Ramirez is washed up. Remember, Ramirez, has been two different players this season.
Who wouldn’t the Mets be willing to take a bet on April as opposed to March?
Make no mistake, though. For the Red Sox, this was all about (surprise!) money. Hanley Ramirez in a Red Sox uniform in 2019 would have cost them $22 million. And remember, this is one of the few teams left in the majors paying a luxury tax. That, coupled with Moreland’s .311 batting average, 1.001 OPS, and $6.5 million owed to him next season, and you have the formula for a no-brainer for the Red Sox.
Hanley Ramirez carries with him the reputation as a diva in the clubhouse. But for that matter, so does Adrian Gonzalez. Ditto for “Joey Bats”, who has taken his turn with the media, his fellow players, and fans as an egomaniac with bat flips designed to infuriate and antagonize the opposition, for no other reason than to draw attention to himself.
No pain, no gain. Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto are both disappointments thus far, and that’s putting it kindly. Brandon Nimmo is a budding star in the league, but he’s in the lead-off spot and therefore not responsible for hitting with power and driving in runs. Ramirez can only help the cause.
There won’t be any time to waste once these seven days go by as several teams may decide they’re willing to take a gamble.
So hopefully Mets General Manager, Sandy Alderson, is already reaching out to Hanley Ramirez’s agent, letting him know in no uncertain terms, “Hey, we’re in this, and we want your client to be able to play in a spotlight city, just the like the ones he’s grown accustomed to. Because we believe May is merely a hiccup and April is closer to the real thing”.
The Mets have been playing well of late for Mickey Callaway, and this is the kind of influx to a team that can provide a spark, however temporary, to keep the string going by taking some of the pressure off Bruce and Conforto, especially in the absence of Cespedes. Let ‘er rip, Sandy.