Two former Dodgers-Giants rivals will be joining forces on the Boston Red Sox in 2015. Hanley Ramirez has signed a four year, $88 million contract with an option for the 2019 season while Pablo Sandoval, a three time World Series winner with the Giants, has signed a five year, $100 million contract with the Sox.
The Red Sox have been pursuing Sandoval, who is affectionately known as Kung Fu Panda, since the Giants won their third World Series in five years. He is a definite upgrade at third base over Will Middlebrooks. In seven seasons in San Francisco, Panda collected 946 hits, batting .294 with 106 HR and 462 RBI. In addition to his three World Series rings, Sandoval is also a two-time NL All-Star. Although he has had weight issues, Sandoval is 28 and is entering the prime of his career.
It will be a little less obvious where Ramriez plays however. Although a shortstop by trade, the Red Sox have Xander Bogaerts playing there. Unless the Sox plan to trade Bogaerts (which would be a mistake), they will probably move Ramirez to the outfield. In which case, they’ll have to trade an outfielder. Hopefully it won’t be Yoenis Cespedes, but given that he’s a free agent next year it will probably be him.
Ramirez actually began his professional career with the Red Sox signing with them when he was 16. I saw him play with the Portland Sea Dogs, the Sox’ Double A affiliate. He came up with the Sox briefly in 2005, but was traded to the Florida Marlins in 2006 for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. The trade worked out well for both clubs. Beckett and Lowell were key contributors to the Red Sox 2007 World Series title while Ramirez won NL Rookie of the Year in 2006, won a NL batting title in 2009 with a sparkling .342 average and has been selected to three NL All-Star teams.
However, Ramirez does have attitude problems and was traded mid-way through the 2012 season to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez has also been more injury prone in recent years although when healthy, he hits. Despite playing in only 86 games in 2013, Ramirez hit .345 with 20 HR and 57 RBI and was key to them capturing the NL West. Ramirez, who turns 31 next month, goes into this season a lifetime .300 hitter with 191 HR and 654 RBI.
If I had a choice between Ramirez and Cespedes, I’d pick Cespedes. If it’s between Ramirez and Bogaerts, I’d pick Bogaerts. I really hope they don’t trade either of those guys even if it means getting Cole Hamels from the Phillies.
Still, the Red Sox offense is much better than it was 24 hours ago. Now let’s see if they’ll sign Jon Lester.
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