I sought your opinions yesterday on free agent outfielder Denard Span and the idea of having him play right field for the Orioles. Being the fickle sort, I’m moving on to another player.
This one isn’t a free agent. He isn’t a plus defender. His contract makes the strongest stomachs dry heave.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Hanley Ramirez.
There are conflicting reports on whether the Red Sox are trying to trade Ramirez, who turns 32 next month. The Boston Globe listed the Orioles among three teams being targeted by new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. The Mariners and Angels also were tossed into the pile.
From what I’ve gleaned - that word again - the Orioles haven’t engaged in serious internal discussions regarding Ramirez, who signed a four-year, $88 million deal with the Red Sox in November 2014 that included a vesting option in 2019 worth $22 million. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on the situation.
We can’t ignore how executive vice president Dan Duquette signed Ramirez as an international free agent in 2002 while serving as Red Sox general manager. Duquette seemingly would be open to hearing out Dombrowski.
My guess is the words “left field” aren’t included in any sales pitch. Ramirez can’t play it. He shows little interest in trying. I almost expected him to fire up a grill on the Fenway Park warning track and start flipping burgers during pitching changes.
No monster, including the green one in Boston, is scarier than Ramirez tracking a fly ball.
The Orioles are searching for corner outfielders, but just how desperate are they?
Ramirez broke in as a shortstop, but those days seem to be over. He’s played 99 games at third base, but the Orioles are covered at the position. He could be moved to first base with the Red Sox and the Orioles may need one of those, but who knows if he can handle it?
A team like the Orioles that places such a high value on defense is more inclined to take Ramirez’s glove for a long drive in the country, slam on the brakes, push it out the door and speed away.
What about Ramirez as the primary designated hitter, with the ability to fill it at a few positions for short periods? He’s a career .296/.367/.494 hitter in 11 major league seasons, but he posted a .249/.291/.426 slash line in 105 games with the Red Sox this year.
Ramirez went on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 27 with right shoulder inflammation and didn’t appear in another game. He batted .183/.211/.239 with no home runs and seven RBIs in the second half.
I have no idea what the Red Sox would want in return and whether the Orioles could meet their demands. Young pitching poses a problem.
Oh, yeah, and then there’s the contract. Ramirez is owed $22.75 million in each of the next three seasons, with the vesting option also looming large. The Red Sox would need to augment the majority, as one person put it, to make a deal work.
The bat is intriguing and an infusion of power is needed if Chris Davis signs with another team. It’s at least worth considering if the Red Sox swallow a major chunk of the contract and the Orioles hold no concerns about a disruption in team chemistry.