Will they or won’t they? Should they?
It’s what many are asking in terms of Hanley Ramirez and his potential re-signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After a report the Dodgers were ready to move forward without him in the fold, a source said Tuesday the team hadn’t yet closed the door on re-signing the polarizing shortstop.
When Ramirez joined the Dodgers in 2012, he infused life in the heart of their lineup. After recovering from a thumb injury in 2013, he was just as much a driving force as Yasiel Puig. Although he struck fear into opposing pitchers, Ramirez’s success came with various ailments, which muddies his free agent picture.
Ramirez was again unable to remain healthy last season and perhaps as a result, saw a drop off in production at the plate. Just one month away from turning 31, Ramirez is a subpar defensive shortstop.
Never known for his glove, Ramirez posted a -10.3 UZR last season, according to FanGraphs, which is a steep decline from his 0.2 mark in 2013. Ramirez’s shortcomings on defense are no secret and in a sport where sabermetrics are en-vogue, he doesn’t stack up favorably to his contemporaries.
While advanced stats are worth keeping in mind, Ramirez only committed two more errors in 2014 when compared to 2013 and finished with a higher fielding percentage (.963 to .960), and his agility and range looked markedly improved down the stretch of the season. Yes, it is still OK to trust your eyes and look past numbers.
As for his production with the bat, although last season was a down year for Ramirez, it may not have been as bad as advertised. Compared to all other shortstops in baseball, Ramirez led in on-base percentage (.369), slugging percentage (.448) and OPS (.817); he finished fourth with 71 RBIs and batting average (.283).
Despite some of the concerns surrounding Ramirez, he was believed to be one of the more sought after bats in free agency. Weeks into the process, that has yet to be the case. Victor Martinez re-signed with the Detroit Tigers on a four-year, $86 million deal and Billy Butler joined the Oakland A’s on a three-year, $30 million contract.
The big domino that may open up the market for Ramirez is Pablo Sandoval, who has been courted by the Boston Red Sox among other teams in recent days. Given his age, the American League figures to be the best fit for Ramirez as he could spend time as a designated hitter. Some interest he’s drawn thus far includes the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners and Red Sox.
Next Page: Re-Signing Ramirez Not A Kiss Of Death