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Unfinished Business At Fenway

The Red Sox have made some major moves to improve their team this offseason, but there is still some unfinished business.  This may sound greedy considering the major acquisitions the Red Sox have made so far this offseason including David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Chris Young, and Carson Smith.  Price gives the Sox the #1 starter that the needed.  He’s a top five starter in all of baseball.  Kimbrel and Smith address a major weakness on the team in the bullpen.  This went from a pain point to a team strength with these two players being added.  A back-end with Junichi Tazawa, Smith, Koji Uehara, and Kimbrel is going to be very difficult for teams to come back against.  Lastly, Young gives the team the fourth outfielder and depth they needed behind Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, and Rusney Castillo.  The major needs have all been addressed.  Great job by Dave Dombrowski!

There’s been a lot of talk in Red Sox Nation over the past week about unfinished business.  Has the team done enough?  What else could they add?

Heres the biggest rumbling we’ve been hearing:

The Red Sox still need a #2 starter.  Is this a necessity?  No.  Would it be a nice have?  Absolutely.  Right now the rotation lines up with Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Joe Kelly.  Buchholz, when healthy, is a legitimate #2.  However, he hasn’t shown that he’s capable of staying healthy for a full season or even half of one recently.  You simply cannot rely on him to be a #2 starter end to end.  Porcello is capable of being a #2, but there are a lot of question marks after last season.  Rodriguez could easily be a #2, or even a #1, down the road, but it may be too early to depend on him to do it over a full season.  Kelly has the stuff of a #2.  He’s done it in strides, but it’s never consistent.

Is it likely that all four of these pitchers pan out and pitch like #2’s?  Absolutely not.  Is it likely that one of them steps up and can do it?  Yes.  It’s likely that one of these four pitchers steps up and wins 12-15 games.  That’s what we should expect from a #2 starter.  The demand for a #2 starter is not fully there.  However, if they were to add one, it would certainly solidify the rotation and the overall team.

Here’s the move that needs to be made:

Trade Hanley Ramirez.

The Red Sox are marketing Ramirez as their first baseman for next season.  He was a colossal failure in the outfield last season and this is really the only spot available.  The reality is that if it weren’t for his contract, Ramirez would already be gone.  The only thing keeping him here is the 3 years and $66 million left on his contract.  So, the thought here is that they need to find a spot for him because they won’t be able to get rid of the contract.

Here’s the reality.  There is not a need to keep this player.  The Red Sox have a potential Gold Glove infield aside from third base.  Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia will not be winning a fielding award with Ramirez at first base.  Their error totals would surely inflate.  You can mark that one down right now!  He makes the infield worse right away just as he did with the outfield last year.  And for what?  For a .249 batting average, .291 OBP, and a .717 OPS.  The reality is that not only is Ramirez a liability on defense, but he is also a liability at the plate.  His hitting is overrated and has been for the majority of his career.  In 11 seasons, he has one with over 100 RBI’s.  The talk of him being this great middle of the order bat at this point in his career is a complete myth.

There’s more to it than just the productivity, or lack thereof, on the field.  Ramirez is a bad influence on the Red Sox young players.  He has a poor work ethic.  He doesn’t give the effort on the field.  He sets a bad example to everyone on the team.  In addition, the Red Sox have a first baseman who played very well last year in Travis Shaw.  In 65 games last season, Shaw hit .270 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI’s.  He also had an .813 OPS.  That’s .096 better than Hanley Ramirez.  At age 25, Shaw will likely improve.  Why not give him a shot?

It really makes no sense for the Red Sox to bring Ramirez back.  They likely would have to eat at least half of his contract to move him.  There’s too many good things happening on this team to bring this guy back and have to deal with his laziness and lack of production on the field.  It really doesn’t even matter what they get in return.

Removing Hanley Ramirez from the Red Sox is the last piece of unfinished business this winter.  If it happens, there will be a lot of positive energy surrounding this team in the spring.  If it doesn’t, expect the negativity to linger just like it did last year.

Negativity – that’s just what Hanley Ramirez brings.

 

 

 

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