2:43pm: Ramirez underwent an arthrocopy and debridement. It is not expected to prevent him from being ready for a full 2018 campaign.
12:50pm: Details remain unknown, but Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston tweets that it’s believed to be a “relatively minor” surgery.
12:06pm: Red Sox first baseman/DH Hanley Ramirez underwent surgery today on his left shoulder, he announced. The details of the procedure, which comes as something of a surprise, are not yet known.
Shoulder issues plagued Ramirez throughout the season, but he had not previously given any indication that he was set to go under the knife, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com notes on Twitter. And president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said less than a week ago that he was not aware of any players who’d need surgery. (Of course, it was later announced that lefty Robby Scott underwent a procedure that very day.)
Ramirez, who’ll turn 34 in December, is owed $22MM next year. If he takes at least 497 plate appearances and passes a physical, he’d also trigger a $22MM vesting option for the 2019 campaign, though odds are the club won’t allow that to happen unless Ramirez is playing well enough that the extra year doesn’t seem like a burden.
Boston will hope that Ramirez can bounce back from another rough season. He was productive in 2016, but otherwise has given the organization below-average offensive work since joining the organization before the ’15 campaign.
This year, Ramirez managed only a .242/.320/.429 slash with 23 home runs over 553 trips to the plate. He did not show significant erosion in plate discipline, with a typical 9.2% walk rate and a slightly elevated 21.0% strikeout rate. And perhaps there’s some hope that a reversal in fortune on batted balls will help Ramirez make up lost ground. After all, he managed only a .272 BABIP, well below his career .322 measure, despite a batted-ball mix that mostly mirrors those of recent seasons.
Ramirez was signed for his bat, and perhaps it can still come alive with a healthy shoulder. If not, he won’t hold much function for the Red Sox. Though he once ran well, Ramirez racked up -5.3 runs on the bases in 2017 by Fangraphs’ BsR measure. And at this point, the former shortstop is only an option at DH or first base. He wasn’t able to play the field much at all this year due to the shoulder problem, but perhaps there’ll be greater availability in the future.
Regardless of Ramirez’s availability, the Red Sox will likely look for more pop over the offseason to come. But HanRam’s outlook matters, too. If he’s healthy and capable of lining up at first base, perhaps the team would have greater positional flexibility in adding a bat. At this point, though, it seems likely that the Boston organization will assume it needs to add a player capable of playing first in 2018. Indeed, it’s even possible to imagine pursuit of multiple hitters, depending upon the post-surgical prognosis.