Author: Aaron Gleeman

Hanley Ramirez

Why would the Red Sox want Hanley Ramirez in the outfield?


If reports that the Red Sox are signing both Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval prove accurate the assumption is that Boston will be moving Ramirez to the outfield after nearly 10,000 career innings at shortstop.

Shifting a 30-year-old career-long shortstop to the outfield is certainly a rare occurrence and may seem strange at first glance, but in Ramirez’s case it’s perhaps not that crazy.

Ramirez has always hit like a corner outfielder, which is what made him so valuable at shortstop. However, now that most people think he can no longer handle shortstop defensively on a regular basis the idea of taking a defensive hit to keep his bat in the lineup at an up-the-middle position is less appealing. In other words, at shortstop his glove is now canceling out too much of his bat.

And once that happens, why not just move the corner outfield-hitting shortstop to an outfield corner? During the past three seasons Ramirez hit .285 with a .356 on-base percentage and .486 slugging percentage in 371 games for an .842 OPS that would have ranked 12th among all MLB outfielders during that time, sandwiched in between Matt Kemp and Nelson Cruz.

In other words, simply duplicating his 2012-2014 production would make him one of the 10-15 best-hitting outfielders in baseball. And if the Red Sox signed one of the dozen best-hitting outfielders to a $90 million deal, it probably wouldn’t seem odd at all. Ramirez’s overall value as an outfielder would depend largely on his defense, which is awfully tough to predict, but given some of the unathletic, weak-armed left fielders the Red Sox have trotted out it’s hard to imagine a career-long middle infielder with 261 career steals being a total disaster out there.

Boston clearing its logjam of outfielders after adding Ramirez to the already crowded mix is another issue, but “Hanley Ramirez, corner outfielder” can be a damn good player.

Report: Pablo Sandoval “leaning toward” Red Sox despite higher offer from Padres

Pablo Sandoval

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is “leaning toward” signing with the Red Sox even though the Padres have made him the highest offer.

Boston’s offer was previously reported to be five years and $95 million, which means the Padres likely either topped $100 million in their offer or expanded the contract proposal to a sixth year.

According to Shea the Giants have also been asked to submit their best offer to re-sign Sandoval, suggesting he’s close to making a decision. During spring training the Giants reportedly offered him a three-year, $40 million extension, which Sandoval smartly turned down.

Reds sign Josh Satin

Josh Satin Mets

Josh Satin, who spent parts of the past four seasons in the majors with the Mets, has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Reds.

Satin played well for the Mets in 2013, hitting .279 with a .781 OPS in 75 games, but spent most of this season at Triple-A and struggled in a brief stay in the majors.

Overall at Triple-A he’s hit .294 with an .838 OPS in 329 games, so Satin could stick with the Reds as a backup corner infielder.

Henry Blanco leaves Diamondbacks for Cubs coaching staff

Henry Blanco Getty

Henry Blanco immediately joined the Diamondbacks’ coaching staff this season after retiring as a player during spring training, but now he’s leaving to join new Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s staff in Chicago.

Blanco, who spent 16 seasons in the majors as a strong-armed catcher and played for the Cubs from 2005-2008, will be Chicago’s quality assurance coach.