Well, we have to admit that we didn’t see this one coming. After predicting the Red Sox would sign Pablo Sandoval (which has happened for five-years, $100 million), the team has decided not to waste any time continuing their improvement while reportedly signing former top prospect Hanley Ramirez to a five-year, $90 million deal (though some reports say that the contract is “significantly more”).
— MLB (@MLB) November 24, 2014
— MLB (@MLB) November 24, 2014
With the additions of Ramirez and Sandoval, the Red Sox now have arguably the most potent infield in baseball (at least offensively). Ramirez boasts a career average of .300 with an OBP of .373 while Sandoval is a career .297 hitter with an OBP of .346. Considering Bostons’ team average last season was just .244 with an OBP of .316, these two additions will tremendously improve an offense that struggled at times.
Take a look at this potential opening day lineup for the Red Sox:
- Shane Victorino – RF (.303 OBP in 2014)
- Dustin Pedroia – 2B (.337 OBP)
- Hanley Ramirez – SS (.369 OBP)
- David Ortiz – DH (.355 OBP)
- Yoenis Cespedes – LF (.301 OBP)
- Pablo Sandoval – 3B (.324 OBP)
- Mike Napoli – 1B (.370 OBP)
- Rusney Castillo – CF (.400 OBP)
- Christian Vazquez – C (.308 OBP)
It is hard to argue that there is a more dangerous lineup in the game of baseball right now. Not only does this lineup feature a combination of power hitters and run producers, but there are also six hitters who reach base frequently. If you are opposing pitchers, there is no “easy” part of this lineup.
There are reports surfacing that the addition of Ramirez was made with the intention of moving the infielder to a corner outfield position. If that is the case, the Red Sox have some moves to make as their outfield already consists of Yoenis Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig and Mookie Betts.
Just like last year’s trade deadline, the Red Sox are hardly finished with their offseason moves. As you can tell, they have a ton of outfielders, meaning there will be a few trades on the horizon. One likely candidate would be Cespedes, who is in the final year of his contract. Shipping Cespedes off could be one of the pieces needed to net a strong starter in return. One potential destination is Cespedes (among others) to the Cincinnati Reds for ace Johnny Cueto (also in the final year of his contract).
Aside from trades, the Red Sox are still looking at signing a free agent pitcher or two. Talks with Jon Lester continue while the team keep tabs on Max Scherzer and James Shields (who we predicted would land in Boston when all is said and done).
After a miserable 2014 season (71-91, last place in the AL East), it is obvious that the team will do whatever it takes to ensure that does not happen again. It also looks as though the team has learned from their massive past contracts (Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez), as the five-year deals being given today are strong deals that are shorter in time than Boston has given out in the past. It is a great way to ensure success without the possibility of financial restrictions in the future.
All in all, today is a big step forward in the (kinda) rebuilding of the Boston Red Sox.
Cover Photo: Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports & Getty Images
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