Free agency is now in full swing as players are permitted to negotiate with teams other than the one they played for in 2014. The Los Angeles Dodgers figure to be relatively active in the market as they have multiple deficiencies to address.
Among the Dodgers’ free agents is Hanley Ramirez, who presents an interesting dilemma. Ramirez didn’t have the same season as he did in 2013 and struggled to remain healthy, but was nonetheless a threat in the lineup when he did play. As expected, the Dodgers made the one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to Ramirez on Monday.
Excluding what’s been handed out this offseason, a total of 22 qualifying have been extended in the previous two years with not one getting accepted; that’s expected to hold true for Ramirez, who may be seeking a more long-term deal.
As a guest on MLB Network’s High Heat on Monday, Dodgers president and CEO, Stan Kasten, expressed some doubt on Ramirez re-signing, via MLB Network’s PR Twitter account:
Stan Kasten on Dodgers free agent Hanley Ramirez: “We’re going to try to keep him here. I don’t know if it’s going to happen.” #HighHeat
— MLB Network PR (@MLBNetworkPR) November 3, 2014
Ramirez’s decision on the qualifying offer is due by Nov. 10 and while he isn’t expected to sign it, he could agree to different terms with the Dodgers. Although the perception of Ramirez in 2014 had him struggling to stay on the field, he played in 42 more games last season than he did in 2013.
Ramirez will be 31 by the start of the 2015 season and he’s considered to be on the decline defensively. With that in mind, Ramirez could land a lucrative deal with an American League team that may be willing to pay a premium to utilize the shortstop as a designated hitter.
If the Dodgers are to lose Ramirez in free agency, they would land a draft pick from the team he joins as a result of making the qualifying offer. However, they would need to replace the batter who drove in the third-most runs (71) on the team last season.