After a hot run that propelled the Los Angeles Dodgers into the 2013 postseason, Hanley Ramirez has hardly resembled the player he was last season.
Nagging injuries have contributed to Ramirez’s inability to find any sort of sustained success at the plate as he’s bounced in and out of the lineup. Ramirez’s latest injury, an oblique strain, was enough to finally get the shortstop on the disabled list.
Manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez appears to be on track to return when eligible and team president Stan Kasten said the shortstop will have the opportunity to contribute down the stretch, via Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
We love Hanley,” Kasten said.” There is still lots of time this season for him to make a big impact in September, and hopefully in October.
As for Ramirez’s pending free agency, Kasten said contract talks will be held after the season:
Both sides have agreed we’ll sit down and talk at the end of the season and decide. We both decided that makes the most sense. As difficult a season as he’s had physically, there is still lots of time for him to have an enormous impact for us.”
It was reported earlier in the season Ramirez was seeking a contract extension north of $130 million. Given his injury troubles and subsequent drop in production, it’s difficult to fathom the 30 year old receiving such a lucrative offer.
However, one baseball insider still stated Ramirez would be a big commodity:
He’d be one of the best bats in the market, if not the best.”
Another factor that may play into contract talks, whether with the Dodgers or other teams, is what position Ramirez will play. It’s believed a move to third base is an eventual requirement for Ramirez, who is widely viewed as a subpar defensive shortstop.
Ramirez was fielding grounders at third prior to Saturday’s game, but manager Don Mattingly said he wouldn’t play there this season. The Dodgers have options to replace Ramirez at shortstop for years to come, which adds further intrigue to his shaky contract status.
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