It was reported yesterday that the Red Sox are preparing to move Hanley Ramirez from left field to first base for the 2016 season (if not before). Ramirez has struggled badly defending on the grass, and the team did not have a clear solution at first. Two birds, one stone for new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
But is it really that simple? We’ve heard conflicting viewpoints all year as to whether another position change for HanRam will be better or worse. Some have pointed out that he will impact the entire infield defense by playing at first, while others have noted that the long-time shortstop ought to be able to handle the transition.
Many American League teams would have considered shifting Ramirez to a DH role, and that may still happen down the line. But with David Ortiz entrenched in that spot for at least another season, it’s not an immediate option.
Alternatively, Ramirez could be shifted back to third base. After all, he’s spent most of his career on the left side of the infield. But there were already indications he was a less-than-ideal candidate there before he moved. And such a plan would, needless to say, be complicated by the presence of fellow offseason signee Pablo Sandoval — who also looks to have negative trade value at present.
Other than continuing the outfield experiment, the only other seemingly viable route would be an attempt at a trade. That’s complicated by the fact that, outside of a productive April, Ramirez has fallen far shy of expectations at the plate. While plenty of clubs would be happy to bet on a turnaround, given his long history of production, Ramirez hardly represents a free roll of the dice. He’s promised $66MM over the next three years, with a very achievable vesting clause that could tack on another $22MM.
We’ve seen which way Boston seems to be headed with Ramirez. But was that the best option? State your opinion in the following poll: