The Los Angeles Dodgers’ first step towards remaking the roster that won 94 games and a second-straight NL West title was walking away from Hanley Ramirez after the oft-injured shortstop turned down a qualifying offer.
Although the Dodgers reportedly were open to re-signing Ramirez, the likelihood of him returning to Los Angeles in 2015 and beyond greatly diminished when he rejected the one-year offer. As such, Ramirez went on to sign with the Boston Red Sox and the Dodgers eventually replaced him by trading for Jimmy Rollins.
While Ramirez thanked the Dodgers, their fans, and manager Don Mattingly after his decision to join to the Red Sox, he failed to reply to text messages Mattingly sent both during the year and this offseason, according to Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times:
I texted Hanley and I didn’t talk to him either, though there were a number of times during the season I tried to get a hold of Hanley and never got a response.”
Ramirez isn’t the only former Dodger to spurn Mattingly, who also said he never received a response from Matt Kemp after the trade with the San Diego Padres.
There was a general sense last season Ramirez was frustrated, perhaps angered, by the fact he never signed a contract extension from the Dodgers and instead was essentially left to earn a new deal; something that most wouldn’t fathom to be the case following the 2013 season.
Former general manager Ned Colletti said in September he believed the contract situation weighed on Ramirez, which Mattingly corroborated in October after the Dodgers were eliminated from the postseason.
Ramirez finished the season batting .283/.369/.448 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs. While he was far from the same hitter who struck fear in opponents during the 2013 season, Ramirez led all shortstops in several offensive categories.
Nonetheless, the Dodgers opted to go with an upgrade defensively in Rollins, who also provides flexibility moving forward as 2015 is the final year on his contract — a key factor with Corey Seager’s forthcoming rise to the Majors.