Yes, Ramirez Can Play First Base (For Now)

The 2016 season is still young but many in the Red Sox Nation are cautiously optimistic about Hanley Ramirez. Since moving to first base, Ramirez has shown consistency at the plate and in the field. As of April 22nd, Ramirez hasn’t committed an error. In fact, Ramirez is starting to re-establish himself as a superstar, one that fans in Boston may come to respect for years to come. So far, Ramirez can play first base!

“We have a player, I think, completely different than a year ago,” Red Sox manager FarrellRamirez can play first base told MLB.com’s Aaron Leibowitz. “He’s engaged, he’s having fun playing the game, [and] I think being back on the infield has been a big boost to that. He’s doing one heck of a job.” Ramirez had played third base and shortstop with the Miami Marlins, and Los Angeles Dodgers before signing a four-year $88 million contract with the Red Sox in November of 2014.

While Ramirez had a decent start to the 2015 season, his season went downhill after a May 4th game against the Tampa Bay Rays. In the top of the first inning, Ramirez crashed into the Green Monster trying to field a catch, spraining his left shoulder. By September, Ramirez was sporting the worst defensive rating in the league, leading then-interim manager Tory Lovullo to pull him from his outfield position (just another sign that Lovullo should replace Farrell sooner than later).

The Red Sox have been struggling recently, first against the Toronto Blue Jays, who managed to overcome setbacks in two of the four games between the two to split the series, and now with Tampa Bay, who took two wins out of three games in the series on April 21st. The Sox were held to one hit during the first of a three-game series against the Rays that started on April 19th, and lost in the 10th inning. The third game on April 21st saw Boston take an early lead before David Price gave up eight runs in 3 and 2/3 innings before Farrell yanked him from the game, which the Red Sox lost 8-5. While the Red Sox are starting to slip back into a familiar pattern from last season, one of the shining glimmers of hope the Red Sox Nation can look forward to is in Hanley Ramirez’s command of defending first base. He continues to show a strong and consistent ability to play first base, giving the Red Sox Nation something to pin their hopes on as the season progresses.

Red Sox Uncertain as Deadline Looms

With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, the Red Sox still seem unclear on what direction they want to go in for remainder of 2015. For the second straight season, the Red Sox sit well out of playoff contention. While a 2014-esque fire sale seems unlikely because they have very few pieces of value, it seems like the focus will be more on 2016 then it will be on making the current squad better.

Looking at the Red Sox current team, it’s pretty clear that the Red Sox need to focus on Red Soxpitching. That became much tougher yesterday as ex-Reds ace, and possible target, Johnny Cueto was traded to the Kansas City Royals for 3 prospects. Cole Hamels is still out there, but it’s not a good idea to begin with and the LA Dodgers and Texas Rangers have emerged as the favorites to land Hamels according to an ESPN report.

A few guys will surely not be here come July 31st as well, and that can also make it tough on the clubhouse—especially if there are heavy rumors surrounding certain players. John Farrell acknowledged as much, but also said that he thinks they have enough veterans on the squad to stay focused on the game in hand through the rumors, according to NESN.

The deadline is in a few days, and hopefully the Red Sox roster will be at least a little different on August 1st. The worst thing the team can do is stand pat with a roster in disarray. The 25 guys on the roster have not gotten the job done and, while there have been a few bright spots, the Red Sox have to make at least a few moves before the deadline—whether they’re buyers or sellers.

Who comes and who goes is still unclear. Now, it’s just the waiting game.