The finalized contract terms are in, and the Red Sox now have themselves a new left fielder. Ken Rosenthal reports that Hanley Ramirez has agreed to a four-year, $88 million deal with the Red Sox that includes a $22 million vesting option for a fifth season, and Jon Heyman says that the idea is for Hanley to be Boston's new left fielder. You can put two and two together here: Yoenis Cespedes is probably going to be traded to make room for him.
Ramirez has played all but 112 of his 1,175 career games at shortstop, but it was time for a change of positions. He's not a strong defensive shortstop, and the Sox already had one. Assuming they also get Pablo Sandoval, and all indications are that's mostly just a waiting game at this point, third base won't be open, either. That leaves a corner outfield spot, and while the Sox already have tons of outfielders, they also need pitching. Cespedes could bring back a valuable arm, even if it's one that, like him, is on an expiring deal.
Heyman reported that Hanley initiated the talks with the Red Sox and showed a willingness to play the outfield, and that part of this was his familiarity with both general manager Ben Cherington -- who traded Ramirez away in 2005 in order to bring Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston -- and his relationship with mentor David Ortiz. Hanley is happy to be with the Red Sox, he's happy to move off shortstop to play the outfield, and while the average annual value of his deal is a bit hefty, he's a serious threat with the bat who isn't signed for an overly long time. The Red Sox aren't handing out anymore seven-year deals -- and should not -- but with their vast resources, players like Hanley should be brought aboard at these prices when they're willing.
Rest easy, Red Sox fans. Xander Bogaerts is the team's shortstop, and from the sound of things, Mookie Betts will be in the same lineup. You know, the one with Hanley Ramirez's bat in it for the next four years.