HANLEY RAMIREZ, 31, shortstop.
Final 2014 stats: .283 batting average, 13 home runs, 71 RBI, 35 doubles, 64 runs and .373 on-base and .500 slugging percentages in 512 plate appearances.
Contract status: Signed with the
The good: Despite appearing in only 128 games (121 starts), he was third on the team in RBI and fourth in homers and doubles. Hit left-handers (.282) and right-handers (.283) the same. Batted .303 on the road. Went 6-for-14 in the playoffs (.429). And remember, all this for a shortstop.
The bad: Struggled to stay healthy all season. His list of injuries -- thumb, calf, shoulder, oblique, leg -- was difficult to keep up with. When it became clear the Dodgers were not going to offer him a contract extension until the season played out and demonstrated he could stay injury-free, he stopped talking to reporters, so whatever he was thinking became conjecture.
Though still an effective hitter, he was a long way from the guy the Dodgers saw crush baseballs in 2013. His slugging percentage dropped almost 200 points. And his defense continued to suffer. His range shrunk and he became unreliable on the balls he could get to. Apparently it was enough to persuade even him it was time to change, signing as an outfielder with the Red Sox. Though that $88 million was pretty good incentive.
What’s next: No one doubts that when
The take: Players are always going to be compared with their best years, and by that standard Ramirez had a disappointing 2014 season. Still, if you're able to subtract the mind-numbing amount of injuries, he had a productive season.
Ramirez claimed, after he signed with the Red Sox, that he
and learned how to win. Not sure that was always on display, Ramirez seemingly an island unto himself. Wouldn’t exactly call him a disruptive force -- as had been claimed with the Marlins -- but he seemed to sulk about his contract and hardly appeared the ultimate team guy.
Now he’s gone and the Dodgers are going to replace him with one year of