Ozzie Guillen met with Hanley Ramirez earlier this week and indicated afterward that he’s open to the Marlins’ star shortstop possibly switching positions.
“I just got there and I just want him on the field no matter where,” Guillen told Adam Berry of MLB.com. “If he has to be a shortstop, it’s shortstop. If he has to be somewhere else, I just want this kid to be on the field every day.”
Ramirez missed 70 games with back and shoulder injuries this season, but unless they sign or trade for a veteran shortstop it seems unlikely that the Marlins would move him in 2012.
Defense at shortstop has never been his strength, but much of Ramirez’s value comes from having an elite bat for the position. If he bounces back offensively following a career-worst season Ramirez’s bat will be plenty good no matter where he plays defensively, but the difference between shortstop and, say, third base would be significant.
Ramirez joined the Marlins in 2006 and since then his .889 OPS leads all MLB shortstops and only Troy Tulowitzki (.869) is within 50 points. On the other hand, during that same time period Ramirez’s same .889 OPS would rank just third-best among third basemen and there are seven different players within 50 points of him at the position.
Shortstops who hit like Ramirez are incredibly rare, so unless the Marlins think he’s a disaster defensively or can’t possibly stay healthy there it makes sense to hold off on any potential switch.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.