Hanley Ramirez started his major league career with the Boston Red Sox, and he just may end it there as well. But here’s hoping that the newly acquired infielder turned outfielder has not just re-entered the “oh no, what did Hanley do now” era.
People often ask, “Who is your favorite player to interview?” The answer? Mariano Rivera, Joe Maddon, David Price. People love to ask, “Who is the worst player you’ve ever interviewed? It’s the same answer every time: Josh Beckett, Carl Pavano and Randy Johnson. And when people ask, “Which player is the most annoying and immature?” The answer has been, Hanley Ramirez.
Let’s just say that the Red Sox front office has done an amazing job of signing “good character” guys over the past couple of years. In fact, it was that approach and philosophy during the winter after the 2012 season that propelled the Red Sox to a championship in 2013. The shocker of a signing that year, however, was A.J. Pierzynski. Never met one person in Major League Baseball who likes the guy. And though Ben Cherington and John Farrell did a bang-up job with the clubhouse, they dropped the ball with AJP. Did they do the same with Hanley?
And I know what you’re thinking; Manny Ramirez was a train wreck in the clubhouse and the Sox won with him. True. But they were tortured along the way. Is that fair to the 24 other guys, coaches and trainers?
Let’s use Carl Crawford as another example. His teammates didn’t love the fact that he didn’t feel he “fit it,” and we all know fans didn’t appreciate his lack of love for the great city of Boston. Word is that Terry Francona and DeMarlo Hale spent the majority of their time coddling Crawford at his locker, giving him daily pep talks to help him adjust to the tough Boston transition. That is nothing less than wasting the time of the manager and coaches. Let’s hope Hanley only bothers David Ortiz with those conversations, right?
When Ramirez agreed to terms with the Red Sox, Yawkey Way Report reached out to several of his former Marlins teammates for comment. One player responded, “Good luck.” And the other replied with a simple, “Turd.” These were not shocking responses because Hanley can be best described in two words: extremely immature.
Those who know him have said that he was lazy and often “didn’t feel like playing.” Not good. Back in May of 2010, his manager at the time Fredi Gonzalez actually pulled Hanley from a game for not hustling. How did Hanley retaliate? He publicly ripped Gonzalez – saying he lost respect for the manager — and some of his teammates.
“We got a lot of people dogging it after ground balls,” Ramirez said in 2010. “They don’t apologize.”
Yes, Hanley was asked to apologize to the team but he refused to. It eventually was reported that he did surrender and apologize, but other sources say that the apology never really happened. Immature AND stubborn. Not good.
For $88M and a $22M vesting option, what exactly are the Red Sox getting? Well, for one, let’s be honest, they are getting an extraordinary talent in Hanley. Nobody will ever take that away from him. In fact, one of his former teammates who “couldn’t stand” Hanley justified his distain by saying, “the kid has no idea how talented he is. He just needs to grow up… and it’s frustrating to watch. I wish I had his talent.”
Stat-wise, Ramirez was the 2006 National League Rookie of the Year and also won the NL batting title in 2009 with a .342 batting average. He batted .283 with 13 home runs and 71 RBI in 128 games last year for the Dodgers and is now a lifetime .300 hitter. It’s impossible to doubt what he can do for the Red Sox offensively.
Ramirez is now 31-years-old and is married with three kids. There’s no denying he seems to be thrilled with his new uniform. In fact, he had no problem leaving shortstop and even added that he was willing to play any position — even left field where he’s never played before. Hopefully this, “I’ll do anything for the team” attitude from Hanley is permanent.
Is Ramirez mature enough to handle playing in Boston? His Marlins days have come and gone, and we all have a past or a piece of our past of which we aren’t proud. Because of that, here’s hoping we wipe the slate clean with Hanley and respect his fresh start.
But what about this question: When Hanley signed with the Red Sox, he mentioned several times, “David Ortiz is texting me pretty much every day and telling me what I’ve got to do, what I’ve got to change.”
Why is Ortiz texting him so much? Why does Ortiz have to tell Hanley what to do? And what is Ortiz telling Hanley he has to change? Hmm…
“I’ve grown up,” Ramirez said at his introductory press conference. “Boston is like home for me.”
Let’s hope you have, Hanley. Or it won’t be home for long… again.