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.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.
Manfred said, “My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players. But if we can’t get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.”
The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.
It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.