New Miami Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen said during his introductory press conference Wednesday in south Florida that one of his primary goals is revilatizing the career of talented 27-year-old shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez, a .306/.380/.506 career hitter, batted just .243/.333/.379 in 385 plate appearances this season. He’s averaged 25 homers since arriving in the major leagues, but hit just 10 this year and just 21 in 2010. From the mental lapses on defense to the perception that he’s too care-free, Guillen wants to change everything.
And that project just received a bit of good news.
According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Ramirez fully expects to be recovered from his September 15 shoulder surgery by the beginning of spring training. And is planning to be in the starting lineup when the Marlins open their new stadium in Little Havana next April.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.