It’s time — in fact, many would argue that it’s past time — to sit Hanley Ramirez on the bench behind glass that reads, “Use Only In Case Of Emergency.” The emergency being that every other position player on the team has broken something and can’t play.
When your primary role on the team is to be the DH, it helps if you live up to the Hitter portion of your position’s title. He hasn’t. Yes, Ramirez does have 22 homers in 147 games this season, highest on the team, but he’s only hitting .238/.320/.423 overall, with a wOBA of just .316 and a wRC+ of 91 (league average is 100). The only everyday player with similar numbers is Xander Bogaerts with .269/.333/.398 with a wOBA of .314 and a wRC+ of 90, but he also plays at a pretty important defensive position.
We’ve all been waiting all season for Ramirez to go on one of his “Hanley gets hot and carries the team” offensive stretches. He’s flirted with one numerous times, but so far he’s only dashed our hopes, and at this point in the season it’s wishcasting for him to go on one.
Farrell has rotated Ramirez, Mitch Moreland and Dustin Pedroia through the DH spot, with cameo appearances by others. Now it sounds like Ramirez will be on the bench (where he belongs) more often than not, and that Christian Vazquez will also join in the DH mix when he’s not catching. With Nunez coming back soon, they need to free up a spot in the lineup, both now and in the playoffs. Even Sam Travis could be added to the playoff roster if the Sox make it there; he doesn’t have power, but he does make contact and gets on base.
With Ramirez’ shoulders keeping him from driving the ball with consistent power, the front office will need to decide what to do with him over the offseason. A trade is the most palatable option.
“But Rick, what about him being signed for next season too?” While it’s true that he is signed through 2018 at an AAV of $22 million, the Sox might be able to trade him for something of value. After all, he can still hit better than Pablo Sandoval who was released and went on to sign a minor league deal with the Giants. Sandoval was signed through 2019.
A replacement level player is defined as a player who is good at something baseball, either fielding or hitting. Hanley Ramirez is no longer good at either and should be benched in favor of, well, just about anyone else on the team. This includes both the rest of the season and the post season.
Featured image courtesy of bostonglobe.com