In 2018, the Boston Red Sox prevailed as the World Series Champions, taking out everyone who stood in their path, including the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers. They did it towards the end, in big part, to World Series Most Valuable Player, Steve Pearce, who was acquired by Boston from Toronto a month before MLB’s Trade Deadline. Peace took over at first base, platooning with Mitch Moreland for most of the second half, after the Sox parted ways with their former international signing, by a man who went by the name of Hanley Ramirez.

Once upon a time, Hanley Ramirez was one of Major League Baseball’s biggest superstars, playing shortstop for the Florida Marlins (2006-2012) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2012-2014) before rejoining the club that signed him as an international free agent back in 2000. Those days have come to an abrupt end.

Boston decided to part ways with the former all-star in May of 2018, by designating him for assignment, which is a more elite way of saying they opted to pay him his remaining $15 million-plus on his contract not to play for them. It’s like saying somebody got “laid off” as opposed to “fired”, which in this case, happened to Hanley Ramirez. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read between the lines.

In 2018, Ramirez may have put up the worst numbers of his career, slashing .254/.313/.395 in just 44 games. However, the former all-star shortstop would not be picked up at any point during the season by any big league organization, and many have asked themselves, “Why”? Ramirez is a former 3-time all-star, who finished in the top-10 MVP vote on three different occasions during his career, and has had tremendous pop in his bat since entering the league in 2005.

Regardless if anybody wants the former Boston first baseman or not, he is making it heard that he wants to return to the league, as he continues to showcase his comeback in the Dominican Winter Baseball League. Currently, Ramirez has a batting average of .266 with an OPS of .829 in just 18 games played with the Tigre’s de Licey. In this video below, you can see Hanley hitting the baseball with extreme power and prejudice:

Given that both, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, are still on the free agent market, it’s understandable that Ramirez is currently low on the free agent list. However, for any team looking for a first baseman with pop in the middle of the order, may want to consider signing a guy like Hanley Ramirez. Plus, Ramirez would not take that much to sign, as he is in his mid-30’s and he knows the game has changed when it comes to free agent contracts in the MLB.

Given how the Yankees are taking a chance on Troy Tulowitzki for one-year, $555,000 dollars, I personally don’t understand the hold up on Hanley Ramirez. Just as it is in Tulowitzki’s case, Ramirez could be a league-minimum signing, as teams are sure to be optimistic about his endurance/stamina after taking such a long time off this season. But with a deal such as league-minimum, a club can take a chance on the slugger without having to seriously regret doing so if he under-performs, because as we all know, if Troy Tulowitzki underperforms in the Bronx, he’s ultimately ending up back in the unemployment line.

From a guy who could’ve been a World Series Champion in 2018, to be a free agent that nobody took a chance on, Hanley Ramirez is going to do everything in his power to prove the critics wrong in 2019, and most MLB organizations would be foolish not to even consider bringing the former all-star into the fold.

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Jack O’Hara

Host of Belly Up Sports' 50/50 BOOKING Podcast available on Apple Podcasts & Spotify Host of The O'SHOW Podcast available on Spotify & Podbean