The Boston Red Sox and free agent infielder Hanley Ramirez have agreed to a four-year, $88 million contract, according to reports. The deal will include an option for a fifth year, valued at $22 million, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Last night, Rosenthal reported that Ramirez and the Red Sox would be meeting in Boston today to finalize a deal. He reported in a separate tweet that Ramirez's deal would be in the range of five-years and $90 million.
Ramirez represents an interesting addition to this Red Sox team. He had reportedly been in talks with Boston for a couple of weeks with talks recently heating up yesterday. He had gotten minor interest from the Blue Jays, Astros, and even Marlins, but it appears that those teams were just kicking the tires. The Red Sox were the first team to show legitimate interest in Ramirez.
It is unclear where exactly Ramirez will fit into the Red Sox lineup. If the Red Sox sign Pablo Sandoval, and it has been reported that they have (although his agent says he has yet to make a decision), Ramirez could be put in left field, allowing Sandoval to slide in at third base and Xander Bogaerts to keep his position at short. Then Boston could deal Yoenis Cespedes for pitching.
One of the less popular beliefs is to keep Ramirez at short and move Bogaerts in a trade. If they used Bogaerts as a centerpiece, this would allow Boston to have a legitimate shot at acquiring Cole Hamels from Philadelphia. However, he could block a trade to Boston as well.
The 30-year-old Ramirez was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2000. He was dealt, along with Anibal Sanchez and others, to the Marlins in the trade that sent Josh Beckett to Boston. Ramirez went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts with Boston in 2005.
Ramirez went on to play six and half years with the Marlins, going to three All-Star Games (2008, 2009, 2010) and winning the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2006. Ramirez won the batting title in 2009, posting an excellent .342/.410/.543 line with 24 homers and 106 runs batted in.
Just days before the 2012 Trade Deadline, Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers. He's spent parts of three seasons with the Dodgers, hitting .299/.368/.506 with 43 homers and 172 runs batted in over 1120 plate appearances. His defense has been far from great as well. It appeared that the Dodgers did not want Ramirez to return this season as they try to cut down on payroll. Now he is Boston bound.
This past season, Ramirez hit .283/.369/.448 with 13 home runs and 71 runs batted in over 512 plate appearances. He posted a 135 wRC+, and for an $18 million annual average value on his rumored deal, this seems to be a very good signing for the Red Sox. Ramirez does have a high strikeout rate, but if he can continue to get on base, it won't appear to be a problem.
The Red Sox are looking to get back to the playoffs after winning the World Series in 2013 and missing the playoffs altogether in 2014. The signing of Ramirez (and maybe Sandoval) might help them get there.