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Red Sox Talk: Hanley’s Thank You Card

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Red Sox Talk: Hanley’s Thank You Card

Hanley Ramirez owes Pablo Sandoval a nice bottle of champagne and a big fat edible arrangement bouquet (chocolate covered preferably) for his scapegoat caliber failures in Boston. If the slovenly oaf did anything here, “Panda” sure as hell provided a massive distraction that curtained the subtle decline Ramirez’s career has taken since returning to the Red Sox.

Hanley’s thank-you-card to Sandoval should read: “Thanks for taking one for the team!”

Sandoval is gone: an entire city rejoices as a column of light shines down from baseball-heaven. There’s no need to beat that ponderous dead-horse any further. However, there is much to be abstracted from the whole Sandoval debacle. Understanding the qualities of Pablo Sandoval that served as indications of a troubled player (Instagram on the bench, belt busting, gut sagging type qualities) and applying this understanding to the evaluation of future prospects, could spare this city a lot of frustration.

When a front-office identifies said “indications” (that’s a helluva euphemism) a course of action must follow. Incorrigible slouches like Sandoval (whose brand of slouching is contagious) need to be dismissed immediately, lest you become hopelessly handcuffed. Case in point: Hanley Ramirez’s underwhelming career as a member of the Red Sox, and the underserved job security he still enjoys.

A Tale of Two Hanley’s

I would be remiss if I failed to clarify that Ramirez is not QUITE the cartoonish blunder that Sandoval was for this organization. The two players are highly comparable kindred-spirits: comrades in their resistance against the effort of any kind. Although, Hanley is the much more exasperating let-down of the two. Fans can attest to this: fans who watch Ramirez, night in and night out, saunter up to the plate, take huge desultory cuts, and lose his helmet to the updrafts of big old whiffs.

-I mean BIG OLD WHIFFS

Hanley has an 11-year big-league career under his belt, a career polished by heartening blips of success and blemished by haphazard stumbles. He was a highly regarded prospect when he first emerged onto the scene with Boston, and he was a key piece in the trade (one that vouchsafed us our 2007 World Series win) that brought over Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell from the Florida Marlins. In 2006 we said goodbye to a young bright-eyed Hanley Ramirez… for the time being.

In Florida, Ramirez flourished into a well-rounded frozen-rope power hitter. In his 7 year tenure with the Marlins, Ramirez produced: he had a cumulative batting average of .300, an OPS of .873, while walloping an average of 24 HR’s and 33.1 doubles a year. Man we sure would love a solid slugger like that here in Boston; they’re so hard to come by these days! The Marlins franchise dissolved; Hanley subsequently did a brief stint with the Dodgers. He maintained these satisfying numbers, but I’ll concede ungenerously, he plateaued. I say plateaued, where the Red Sox might say peaked.

In 2015, nearly a decade after the trade with the Marlins and a $100 million contract later, the Red Sox reacquired Ramirez: a player evolved far beyond the unrefined prospect they had waved goodbye to so long ago. Pacified by the sight of 9-figures, his productivity line took a sharp descent during his first year with the club (remind us of anyone… rhymes with Panda) and has not recovered since.

In his first 2.5 years with the Red Sox, second reckoning: Hanley has a .267 BA, an unremarkable OPS of .799, and a floundering 21.7 HR’s coupled with 21.3 doubles per year. Compared to his former baseball-card stats, these numbers are both alarming and bewildering. This guy went from a virile powerhouse at the plate, to an impotent flailing inflatable tube man. How would any of us have noticed? We were all so concerned with Pablo’s woes, like his excruciating ear infections and waking up the day before spring-training 50 lbs heavier. Poor Panda!

Before It’s Too Late

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching and playing baseball: talent does not simply evaporate, it merely goes unstimulated. Under recent Red Sox management, 2 polished All-Star’s have steadily deteriorated into half-baked couch potatoes. This betrays an inherent flaw in the clubhouse, something that stinks up the entire atmosphere.

Perhaps the coaching staff was a tad over-encumbered with the excess baggage that was the Panda situation. As fans, we can only hope that the dishonorable discharge of Sandoval is a harbinger of change. Hanley, along with the preponderance of valuable and volatile assets we have obtained in recent years, can be reformed. They don’t have to become unteachable old-dogs. What they need is to feel a well-kindled fire, instead of soft catering cushion, under their collective rump.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Have Signed JD Martinez

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JD Martinez

Time for a celebration Red Sox fans, the team has reportedly signed a big-time bat.

According to Pedro Gomez of ESPN, the Boston Red Sox have signed free agent DH/OF J.D. Martinez.

Multiple outlets are reporting that the deal is for five years with a player opt-out option after two seasons. The deal is valued at $110 million with it being a front loaded contract prior to the opt out. Full terms will be revealed later.

Martinez has played for three teams in his career starting off in Houston, moving to Detroit, and then being traded to Arizona this past season. The 30-year-old has had his fair share of struggles in major league baseball but was able to figure it all out in 2017 by belting 45 home runs between the Tigers and Diamondbacks with a .303 batting average and 104 RBIs.

Martinez’s role with the Red Sox is unclear at the moment but he can be expected to DH and the corner outfield positions. Having the opt-out in the contract is a huge incentive for Martinez who will likely be playing like it is a contract year given the front-loaded nature of the deal.

Boston has landed their guy, the question is will it be enough for them to contend with the New York Yankees?

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Boston Red Sox Are Close To Signing JD Martinez

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JD Martinez

Red Sox fans everywhere can start to rejoice as the big move the team desperately needed is getting closer to completion.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Boston Red Sox and free agent J.D. Martinez are closing in on a deal.

Other reports have also confirmed that a deal is imminent but that Dave Dombrowski and the team have yet to acknowledge or confirm anything is done or nearing completion. It does appear however that talks between Martinez and the Red Sox are at an all-time high and their seems to be high confidence that both sides will come to terms on a deal in the near future.

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Boston Red Sox

John Henry, Red Sox Owner: ‘We really don’t need to be popular. We need to win.’

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Ever wonder why Boston Red Sox fans or Liverpool fans have shown a hatred towards John Henry? Well if you did look no further than his idiotic and out of touch comments that he made on Monday during his yearly media availability.

Red Sox owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner were asked if they were concerned about the level of popularity of the current team compared to past years.

Wener, one of the producers of Roseanne went first.

“I don’t quite see it the way some of the fans see it. I respect their point of view but I think we’ve got a fun team and if it’s healthy I think were going to be — we’ll bring the fans back,” Werner said. “Obviously we’re in a market where there’s a lot of excellence. We’ve got four championship teams and they’re all playing extremely well. So hopefully now it’s the beginning of spring training and we can have some focus on the Red Sox.”

Henry provided a follow-up that was a bit odd for an owner that makes money off of people liking his teams.

“We really don’t need to be popular,” he said. “We need to win.”

For a team so image conscious the statement is bizarre. But hey, maybe Henry is checked out and will sell the team.

There are plenty of other things to do in the summer than watch Red Sox baseball, maybe fans should take Henry’s lead and turn off the team if they fail to win.

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