Hanley Ramirez played in the Dominican Winter League this offseason, is currently participating in the Caribbean Series, and has committed to suiting up for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. But Ramirez has not — and will not — play shortstop in any of those events.
Which has the Dodgers’ front office concerned.
According to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, Los Angeles management is growing “uneasy as its prized asset continues to play games outside the U.S. and away from shortstop.” Ramirez has been DHing in the Caribbean and will start at third base in the 2013 WBC.
“It’s really hard to say, ‘Don’t play for your country,'” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters recently at a charity event. “I’m kind of torn. Selfishly, I’d like Hanley to be in camp playing short every day.”
Ramirez already rates poorly at shortstop and obviously isn’t working to improve this offseason.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.