In a shocking development, The Boston Red Sox have decided to part ways with former all-star Hanley Ramirez Friday morning, according to Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. The move was made in order to make room for the activation of second baseman Dustin Pedoria from the disabled list.
Ramirez was hitting .245/.313/.395 at the time of his release, which is not great, but hardly merits a full release. This will likely lead to speculation by the players union that this was done to stop the $21 million dollar vesting option in Ramirez’ contract from kicking in for next season, which Hanley was well on his way to achieving. The Red Sox will still be on the hook for more than $15 million dollars owned to the veteran this season.
The first baseman started the year off with a bang, hitting .330/.400/.474 at the end of April after coming into the season promising a 40/40 campaign. He batted in the third spot of the Boston batting order in 38 of the teams 50 games, while batting in the two-hole for the remainder. Now he is simply gone? It will be hard for the Red Sox to explain this decision to be anything other than financial one, but I am sure another team will gladly take a flyer on Hanley. There could be off-field issues that have not been made public, but for now this whole situation is strange.
Fantasy owners in deep mixed formats should not look to cut ties with Ramirez just yet as he is very likely to catch on somewhere else very quickly. He was off to a fantastic start to the season and may be worth holding onto while this situation shakes out. Ramirez was hitting just .163/.200/.300 in May with a 59% ground ball rate, so it is easy to lose faith, but a change of scenery may be just what is needed in this case. Ramirez was suffering from a comically low .152 BABIP after his fast start to the year and the fact that this decision was made out of the blue makes any rash decision making something to avoid. On the other hand, Hanley has now been an below average player for over two full seasons now, so he is still a very droppable player in shallower formats.
The good news is that Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland’s fantasy value got a huge shot in the arm today. The veteran is having a solid year, batting .311/.390/.612 with a 1.011 OPS. He was used strictly in a platoon while Hanley was on the team, but one would assume he is about to get all of the at-bats he can handle. If you are in need of a corner infielder, grabbing Moreland right now could be a smart idea.