Once the Los Angeles Dodgers season ended the first question turned to the front office and manager position.
Soon after those initial thoughts, heads turned to the shortstop position, where Hanley Ramirez will become a free agent. After his strong 2013 campaign, many believed that Ramirez would be signed to a contract extension that would keep him in Los Angeles for the extended future. Well, a deal never got done and the 30-year-old suffered through an injury-plagued season in which his numbers were lower than his injury-plagued 2013.
Ramirez was able to play in 128 games; however, how many of those games he was healthy remains to be seen. He hit .283 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs a year after hitting .345 with 20 home runs and 57 RBIs in just 86 games. The slugging shortstop had trouble in the field this year, committing 16 errors and being worth negative-eight defensive runs saved. He was often substituted in the later innings for defensive purposes in games the Dodgers were winning.
The six-year, $70 million contract that Ramirez signed with the Miami Marlins comes to an end this year, leaving the Dodgers with a predicament of their own. Ramirez can be offered a one-year, qualifying offer worth $15.3 million by the Dodgers. If that is turned down, Ramirez will become a free agent but any team that signs him would lose a draft pick.
So what do the Dodgers do?
Extend the qualifying offer
Bringing back Ramirez for one more year at the aforementioned figure would be a great move for the Dodgers. While the former All-Star struggled on defense, it is of note that he improved his defense late in the year. It may have been a sign of health that could bode well for the Dodgers’ interest. In the postseason, Ramirez hit .429, albeit minus the power he displayed most of the year.
The Dodgers have a number of options for shortstop next year, but none have the offensive prowess that Ramirez possesses. Miguel Rojas and Erisbel Arruebarrena could handle the job on the defensive side at a significant downgrade on offense.
If Ramirez was to accept the qualifying offer, it would give the Dodgers another year of the shortstop in his prime. He is the best offensive shortstop on the market and enjoys playing in Los Angeles. A one-year deal could also provide incentive for Ramirez to improve his game in order to receive one last multi-year deal before his playing days are over.
Next Page: See The Other Two Options The Dodgers Have