Hanley Ramirez has had an interesting Red Sox career. He was signed by the organization in 2000 as an amateur free agent. He then spent five years rising up the ranks, becoming a top prospect before making his MLB debut in 2005. After only two at-bats with Boston, he was shipped off to Florida where he enjoyed the best years of his career, including three-straight All-Star efforts from 2008 to 2010. He then spent some time mashing in Los Angeles before winding his way back to Boston in the 2014-15 offseason.
He has now played more seasons for the Red Sox (four) than he ever did with the Dodgers and has become a fixture at Fenway. Getting there has featured some rocky work. In 2015, he and fellow free agent signee Pablo Sandoval were pretty awful. He slashed .249/.291/.426 with an OPS+ of 89, the lowest mark of his career. He bounced back with 30 home runs and an OPS+ of 126 in 2016 before regressing against last season. So far the every other year merry-go-round he is one has continued in 2018. To date, he has slashed .282/.343/.450 with 13 extra-base hits across 37 games and 166 plate appearances.
But Ramirez has endeared himself by being more than just a solid offensive contributor and a more than acceptable first baseman/designated hitter. At this point, there is no player on the roster that can lift the spirits like Hanley.
His Twitter game is on point, whether its cheering on the Boston Celtics or Boston Bruins while cracking no-hitter jokes, being Mookie Betts’ biggest fan or hitting home runs from children, his social media presence is a bright spot on platforms where there is a lot of utter drivel.
But the fun isn’t limited to 280 characters. He’s also spreading the good word that baseball is fun in the dugout, on the field and even in the stands.
And that’s just in the last few days. So maybe the Red Sox didn’t get to have the same Hanley who was a 30-30 threat with the Marlins or an MVP candidate in only 86 games with the 2013 Dodgers, but they have gotten one of the most purely fun players in the league to root for. I’d say that’s good return on investment. Let the #SummerOfHanley continue.
Why is Boston having so much trouble with the Oakland A’s? (Jen McCaffrey; The Athletic) ($$)
Even though it contributed to last night’s loss, Stephen Piscotty’s home run was touching. (Whitney McIntosh; SB Nation)
Plus there was some fun to be had on Twitter dot com. (Whitney McIntosh; SB Nation)
Carson Smith’s recent injury means not great things for the bullpen. (Peter Abraham; Boston Globe)
Smith’s tenure in Boston has been colored by more frustration than success. (Chad Jennings; The Athletic) ($$)
Blake Swihart is not going to get a big spike in playing time any time soon. (Michael Silverman; Boston Herald)
The ridiculous issue that the Red Sox are having on the base paths has become tiresome. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
The Deven Marrero trade was finally completed. Thanks, Josh Taylor. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)