When the Red Sox designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment in May and then eventually released, the assumption was that it was almost entirely about getting out from under the $22 million vesting option they were potentially on the hook for in 2019. Conventional wisdom suggested that the first baseman/designated hitter would soon be picked up by another club when he was a free agent and able to sign for the league minimum. Well, it’s now been a few weeks and he still remains unsigned. Now, we may have the reason why. According to Michele McPhee, an investigative reporter for ABC News, Ramirez is being “eyed” in connection to an ongoing investigation at both the federal and state level.
This is obviously huge news, and it’s also news about which we have very little information. There is no point in speculating beyond what is being reported. There are a lot of rumors swirling around the internet that have seemingly come out of nowhere, and until they are substantiated they shouldn’t be brought up. With that being said, McPhee did give a little more information about what she knows on an appearance on 98.5 the Sports Hub. The quote below is from that interview, courtesy of this post from CBS Boston.
“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said on The Sports Hub. “And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”
According to McPhee, the car stop took place in Lawrence, which is also reportedly the site of a major drug sweep, in which the suspect pulled over in the aforementioned car stop is involved.
For what it’s worth, the Red Sox have indicated that they have no knowledge about Ramirez being involved in any investigation and continue to insist he was released for baseball reasons.
Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg says that the Red Sox are unaware of any investigation involving Hanley Ramirez. Another ML source familiar with the team's thinking seconded that, and reiterated that the decision to release him was "a baseball decision."— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) June 22, 2018
Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic also reached out to Ramirez’ agent, who says that both he and his client are unaware of any investigation.
Hanley Ramirez’s agent, Adam Katz: “Hanley has no knowledge of any of the allegations contained in this media report and he is not aware of any investigation.” https://t.co/RaKBJdRlK9— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 22, 2018
There will presumably be more information to come on this story, and we’ll keep you updated on any pertinent information.