After helping guide the Los Angeles Dodgers to an NL West title in 2013, which was the franchise’s first since 2009, it was widely expected Hanley Ramirez would remain in Los Angeles for many years to come.
Although Ramirez was part of a second NL West championship team last season, his future will not include the Dodgers as according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, he’ll sign a four-year, $88 million contract with a vesting option for a fifth year:
Hanley Ramirez terms with #RedSox, per source: Four years, $88M with fifth-year vesting option valued at $22M.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 24, 2014
Ramirez leaves the Dodgers after having spent two and a half injury-plagued seasons with them. Although the Dodgers were reported as being open to re-signing the soon-to-be 31 year old, Ramirez’s return wasn’t considered likely.
For the Red Sox and Ramirez it’s a reunion of sorts as he re-joins the team that signed him as an amateur free agent in 2000. In an effort to boost his free-agent value, Ramirez was said to be willing to switch positions.
With Pablo Sandoval also set to join the Red Sox, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the plan is for Ramirez to play left field:
The plan calls for Ramirez to play left field, which seems to make Yoenis Cespedes a likely trade possibility.
Moving Ramirez to left field was kicked around within the Dodgers organization, though the potential change never gained much traction and he remained at shortstop despite struggling defensively.
While it was reported the Dodgers never quite got serious in the Russell Martin sweepstakes, they’ve now finished on the outside looking in on two free agents they were linked to. With Ramirez moving on, the Dodgers need to find a viable replacement.
Internal options include Erisbel Arruebarrena and Miguel Rojas and while both would be an upgrade defensively, neither swing the bat well. The Dodgers may also revisit acquiring Alexei Ramirez in a trade that would land them the necessary shortstop while hopefully alleviating the outfield logjam.