Silent Hanley Ramirez, the talented shortstop who stopped talking to the media when it appeared he would not get his big contract with the Dodgers, might be getting one anyway from the Boston Red Sox.
Ramirez is headed to Boston to finalize a five-year, $90-million contract, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It would be something of a homecoming for the free agent, who was originally drafted and signed by the Red Sox before being traded as a 21-year-old shortstop to the Marlins for right-handed pitcher Josh Beckett.
The Dodgers would still receive a compensation pick between the first and second rounds if Ramirez signs with any other team, but because the Red Sox finished with a bottom-10 record, they would not lose their seventh overall pick.
It’s uncertain what position the Red Sox would want Ramirez to play. Most feel his days as a shortstop are at an end, but Boston is also heavily pursuing free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval.
The Dodgers made a $15.3 million qualifying offer to Ramirez earlier this month, which assured they would receive a compensatory pick should he sign elsewhere. The Dodgers, however, never expressed interest in signing Ramirez to a long-term deal.
After displaying an explosive bat in an injury-shortened 2013 season (.345 batting average, 20 homers, 57 RBIs, 25 doubles in only 336 plate appearances), the Dodgers had expressed interest in signing him to a new contract last off-season.
When that deal failed to come together, the Dodgers elected to wait and make sure the 30-year-old could remain healthy, and that never happened. Ramirez was plagued by a series of injuries all season: elbow, hand, thumb, shoulder, calf, hamstring, oblique, back and ribs.
Last season in 128 games, Ramirez batted .283 with 13 homers, 71 RBIs and 35 doubles.
The Dodgers’ new management team seemed even less inclined to sign a player with a history of injury who will turn 31 next month.
The Dodgers, however, have no obvious in-house replacement for Ramirez at shortstop. Miguel Rojas, Erisbel Arrubarrena and Alex Guerrero have all played the position, but Rojas and Arrubarrena have struggled to hit, while Guerrero has struggled in the field.