With the conclusion of the World Series and 2014 season Wednesday, free agency officially began Thursday. The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the offseason with seven free agents, which increased to eight when they declined the team option on Chad Billingsley for 2015.
Their total number of free agents is also slightly skewed given that Josh Beckett announced his intentions to retire after the Dodgers were eliminated from the National League Division Series. One of the biggest question marks they face is what to do with Hanley Ramirez.
Unsurprisingly, the first step in addressing Ramirez’s free agency will likely be the Dodgers extending the qualifying offer to the shortstop, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
dodgers expected to extend qualifying offer to hanley. yanks likely on d-rob (but kuroda is an iffy call) stories on @CBSSports
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 2, 2014
By offering Ramirez the one-year, $15.3 million deal, the Dodgers would receive a draft pick if Ramirez to sign with another team prior to June. Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers in 2012 and filled an immediate need at shortstop.
Although he began the 2013 season on the disabled list, Ramirez returned as one of the hottest hitters in baseball as the Dodgers completed their turnaround to win the NL West title. The bar was then set high for Ramirez in 2014, which proved to be a frustrating and injury-plagued season.
Ramirez battled various injuries but to his credit, or perhaps detriment, only landed on the disabled list once — with an oblique injury. The 30-year-old shortstop maintained his contractual status did not affect him throughout the year and got defensive over his decline in production at the plate.
The dip in Ramirez’s offensive output left the Dodgers in somewhat of a bind as his defensive range and glove aren’t among his strong suits. The Dodgers have until 2 p.m. PT Monday to present Ramirez with the qualifying offer.