The Boston Red Sox may want to make room for a big bat, but trading Hanley Ramirez to help that cause will be a tough bargain.
On the 2017 season stats for the Boston Red Sox, you’ll see a 168 in the home run column. That was good for a dismal 27th in all of baseball, and created a clear area of need this offseason.
The Red Sox re-signed first baseman Mitch Moreland, who hit 22 home runs for them last season, on Monday. That takes them out of the mix for free agent Eric Hosmer, but outfielder J.D. Martinez is firmly on their radar.
Hanley Ramirez hit 23 home runs and drove in 62 last year, but his slash-line (.242/.320/.429) was lackluster and he’s been up-and-down over his three seasons with the Red Sox. He’s due to make $22.75 million next season, which may be a prohibitive salary to carry if Boston wants to make a serious run at Martinez or another free agent power hitter.
According to Evan Drellich of NBC Boston, the Red Sox want to trade Ramirez but can’t find a suitor.
Apart from his lack of production, Ramirez also has a $22 million vesting option for 2019 that kicks in with 1,050 plate appearances in 2017 and 2018. He had 553 plate appearances last year, so another season along those lines would lock in the option for his age-35 season. Even if the Red Sox are willing to eat some money to move Ramirez, it’s hard for another team to justify taking on the looming shadow of that vesting option.
Ramirez has also essentially became a full-time DH last year, playing just 18 games at first base as he battled a left shoulder issue that required surgery right after the season. The Red Sox tried him in left field in 2015, but the one-time shortstop was not at all suited to the outfield. Limited position flexibility, production that doesn’t justify his salary and advancing age are combining to make the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year untradeable.