After a hot finish to the 2013 season and entering the final year on his contract, Hanley Ramirez faced high expectations last season.
Ramirez failed to meet the standard he set as he battled his way through a season riddled by injury. The 30-year-old shortstop suffered calf and oblique injuries, among other ailments but was only placed on the disabled list once.
While Ramirez faced criticism for his the decline in production at the plate, he still posed a threat as manager Don Mattingly moved him around the lineup. Ramirez’s splits suggest he heated up in May as he collected 21 RBIs but in terms of batting average, September was far and away his most productive month as he hit .352.
Perhaps as a result of some of the injuries Ramirez faced, he at times wasn’t the most dependable glove at shortstop, which led to manager Don Mattingly replacing him with Miguel Rojas Erisbel Arruebarrena in late-game situations. However, Ramirez showed better range and a strong glove in the latter stages of the season.
Heading into the postseason Ramirez said he wanted to make a difference and help the Los Angeles Dodgers avenge their 2013 NLCS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He hit .429 in the series with two RBIs but went hitless in Game 4 as the Dodgers were eliminated.
Overall when compared to 2013, Ramirez suffered noticeable drop offs last season in batting average (.345/.283) , slugging percentage (.638/.448) and OPS (1.040/.817).
After losing the first two of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ramirez and the Dodgers broke out in the rubber match. Ramirez put the Dodgers ahead with an RBI single in the first inning and drove in another run in the third with his second single of the game.
Then in the fourth inning, Ramirez hit a two-run home run and followed it with a solo home run in his final at-bat of the game. Ramirez finished 4-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs and the Dodgers won, 12-2.
Another memorable moment for the shortstop was his three-run walk-off home run in the 12th inning against the Chicago Cubs in a game that was being played under a steady rain fall.
The Dodgers made the qualifying offer to Ramirez Monday, which if he agrees to it, would earn him $15.3 million for one season. However, the history of players signing qualifying offers doesn’t lend to believe the shortstop will accept the offer.
Ramirez could agree to different terms with the Dodgers and if he signs elsewhere, it would net the team a draft pick. Regardless of where Ramirez plays in 2015, he’ll look to bounce back from a bit of a decline that was tied to the various injuries he battled.