The Boston Red Sox are going all-in on another Hanley Ramirez experiment.
The Red Sox tried Ramirez (an infielder by trade) in left field in 2015. It didn’t work. Now, Boston plans to try Ramirez at first base (another position he never has played) in 2016 despite his lackluster first season back with the Sox and the emergence of 25-year-old first baseman Travis Shaw.
“We’re committed to making the effort, and I believe he’s committed to making the effort to play first base,” Dombrowski said Tuesday of Ramirez at a press conference at Fenway Park. “Now I will say, one thing that’s nice is we do have some protection in Travis Shaw, and we also have a young player coming in (prospect) Sam Travis that’s well-regarded. So there’s a little bit of depth right there, which is helpful.”
Ramirez, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract last offseason, faced more outside criticism than any player on the Red Sox in 2015. He was a defensive liability, his offensive production dropped off significantly after a hot April, he battled injuries and his effort level constantly was questioned.
But the reality is Ramirez’s salary makes it difficult to trade him, and there really isn’t anywhere else to insert the former shortstop. So it’s first base or bust.
“We need to do everything we can to make that work,” Dombrowski said of Ramirez at first base. “We’re committed to it, I believe he’s committed to it, his representatives are committed to making it work.
“Now, will it work? Only time will tell.”
The Red Sox need it to work, or else the situation will become even more complicated than it already is.
Thumbnail photo via Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports Images