How Well Does Hanley Fit With Top Targets?

Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

Source: Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

Baltimore Orioles

Potential Lineup:

  1. Nolan Reimold – LF – R
  2. Manny Machado – 3B – R
  3. Adam Jones – CF – R
  4. Hanley Ramirez – DH – R
  5. Matt Wieters – C – S
  6. Jonathan Schoop – 2B – R
  7. J.J. Hardy – SS – R
  8. Christian Walker – 1B – R
  9. L.J. Hoes – RF – R

Why Ramirez Fits:

Have you looked at the lineup above? Woof. Yeah, Ramirez definitely fills one of the Orioles’ pressing needs, as they will be looking to add a first baseman, one or two corner outfielders, and a designated hitter this winter (oh yeah, and a starting pitcher). With the Orioles’ financial restraints — especially after Wieters accepted the $15.8 million qualifying offer — they will likely be looking to add some pieces that aren’t too much on the expensive side. With the Red Sox eating some money (possibly half or more than half) of Ramirez’s contract, the O’s could at least check in on the asking price and how much money Boston will actually eat. In the event Chris Davis leaves the Orioles’ in free agency, Ramirez’s bat would be a cheaper option that could mash in the middle of Baltimore’s order. As noted previously with the Mariners, the O’s have a strikeout and contact issue, one that would be helped out a bit if Hanley is added to the roster. Orioles GM Dan Duquette has had previous connections with Ramirez, as Duquette was the Red Sox GM who signed Ramirez out of the Dominican Republic. So if Duquette still loves Ramirez’s bat about a decade and a half later, I’m sure he’d listen if current Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski gave him a call.

Why Ramirez Doesn’t Fit:

If you look at the projected lineup above, it’s very right-handed heavy. There are no left-handed hitters in the lineup — with the exception of Wieters as a switch-hitter — so the O’s will likely look to add lefties as a priority this offseason when it comes to hitters. Also, it seems like one of their priorities is to retain Davis to play first base, and they have also been linked to outfielder Alex Gordon, as well as Denard Span. In Cafardo’s report, he noted the Red Sox have internally discussed Davis as an option at first base, but that would have to go along with the scenario that they trade Hanley. The only way I see the Orioles pulling a trade for Ramirez is if they have already lost out on the bidding for Davis. But the Red Sox most likely won’t be signing Davis unless they have a deal in place to send Hanley packing. Ultimately, I don’t see the Orioles trying to put themselves in a position where they take the risk on Hanley in Baltimore, while letting the Red Sox push hard to sign Davis — and yes, Davis is a big risk as a free agent signing as well. The Orioles will likely be seeking left-handed bats in free agency and trades instead of Ramirez. Even if they lose out on Davis, free agent hitters like Gordon and Span and potential trade targets like Yonder Alonso, Brandon Moss, and Pedro Alvarez seem more likely to happen than a trade for Ramirez.

Final Decision:

With how much need the Orioles have for hitters in their lineup, Ramirez could definitely fit in the middle of their order in the right deal. If this happens, though, I would expect it to be in the scenario that they have already lost out on the potential options listed above, and end up getting desperate to add a bat, no matter what side he bats from. The Orioles could also pull this off if they add left-handed hitters for first base or corner outfield, while being committed to Hanley as the full-time DH, even though that could create a potential positional flexibility issue. There is a fit here, but there are better options to pursue ahead of him.

Leave a Reply