Last offseason gave much promise to the Boston Red Sox with the signings of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. When Red Sox fans heard that Hanley would be giving left field a shot, we either cringed or hoped that by some miracle it was a great idea.
Like other Red Sox fans, I think I was blind to the situation. I pictured the Hanley who was traded from the Red Sox to the Marlins in 2006; the guy who stole 50 bases and was athletic enough to play shortstop.
April went by and things were going alright, most likely due to the fact that he had hit 10 home runs in that first month. Then May came around. His batting average fizzled along with his power, and that is when his defense was put under a spotlight and came under fire. The four total errors he had on the season does not paint the picture quite right. He got lost when it came to running the right route to the ball, misjudged many balls off the Green Monster, and threw to the wrong base numerous times. All those mistakes add up to losses, and those losses lead to frustration.
Like many other critics of Hanley, we were not there when he was “working” on improving as an outfielder. I heard many times throughout the season that he was not working at his new craft hard enough — it appeared he was just going out there and hoping for the best. Also, it appeared that his presence in the clubhouse was ghost-like. He also carried no intensity or late-game heroics, batting .207 when it came to the ninth inning.
“Hanley has no pain in his shoulder,” said new Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski. “I [told] him, ‘We’re counting on [you] for big things next year. We’re counting on [you] to be our first baseman.’ I asked him if he thought he could play first base. He said, ‘I can play shortstop, I can play third base, I can play first base.’ He seemed comfortable.”
That was after the two met in Florida the other day. Sure, it all seems perfect, but can we actually believe it? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, find a new team. It may seem easy to throw him at first base because of his body, but you can’t just learn how to pick a short hop that easily, especially with the work ethic he has displayed in Boston so far.
I’d love to see him succeed in Boston, but I just don’t see it in the cards. I think Travis Shaw earned a shot to start in 2016 at first with the Boston Red Sox. Does Hanley stay or does he go? We will have to wait and find out.