Manny Ramirez will be a Dodger again
in 2010. His agent Scott Boras informed general manager Ned Colletti on
Friday that the 37-year-old slugger would not exercise the escape clause in his contract.
As part of the two-year, $45 million contract that Ramirez signed in
March, he had the option to re-enter the free agent market after the
season. Instead, Ramirez elected to return to the Dodgers for the price
of $20 million.
“Obviously, he enjoys L.A.,” Boras said. “If he went into the
marketplace, the real negative was that he could end up playing in a
place he wasn’t comfortable playing.”
His decision shouldn’t qualify as a
huge surprise considering the kind of season that he had. Ramirez was
off to a piping hot start, batting .348/.492/.691 with six home runs
and 20 RBI until he was suspended for violating MLB’s
performance-enhancing drug policy in May. But he just wasn’t the same
hitter upon his return, batting an underwhelming .269/.389/.492 with 13
home runs and 43 RBI. He risked making considerably less on the open
Ramirez continues to be a liability
in left field, but anytime you can have one of the most feared
right-handed batters of all-time in your lineup, it’s pretty hard to
complain. With one of the most potent outfields in the sport, Colletti
will turn his focus to finding a taker for the remaining two years and
$18.5 million left on Juan Pierre’s contract.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.