Laynce Nix declares free agency

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Laynce Nix declared himself a free agent today after clearing waivers and refusing an outright assignment, according to the Reds’ official Twitter feed.

Nix, who turned 30 last month, batted .291/.350/.455 with four home runs, 18 RBI and an 805 OPS over 165 at-bats this past season. He sprained his left ankle on August 23 and missed most of the month of September, but was on the club’s roster for the Division Series against the Phillies.

Nix went through virtually the same process last November. After hitting a career-high 15 home runs in 309 at-bats in 2009, Nix refused an outright assignment from the Reds only to return on a minor league contract.

It’s possible he could be back, but there will probably be a few teams interested in him as a cheap alternative for a left-handed bat off the bench. Nix posted a 795 OPS in 163 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season and an 802 OPS in 303 plate appearances against righties in 2009.

Hanley Ramirez is not actually under federal and state investigation

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On Friday, it was reported that free agent Hanley Ramirez was under federal and state investigation, though no one knew for what, exactly. Michele McPhee of ABC News said, “Obviously I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime. And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”

The suspect was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine. But it turns out that Ramirez’s name only got mentioned because the suspect was hoping to avoid arrest. Ramirez is not actually under investigation, Shelley Murphy and Evan Allen of the Boston Globe report.

The attorney of the suspect said that his client grew up in the Dominican Republic with Ramirez and used the former Red Sox DH’s name “to get the cops off his back, which didn’t work.” During the traffic stop, a trooper asked permission to open a brown cardboard box found in the rear cargo area of the suspect’s jeep. The suspect said the box contained books, shipped to him by Ramirez’s mother to deliver to Ramirez in Boston. The suspect FaceTimed Ramirez to back up his story, but Ramirez said he wasn’t aware that the suspect was on his way to visit. Ramirez gave permission to the trooper to open the box. He did, and found a gift bag with two kilograms of fentanyl. The suspect was arrested on drug trafficking charges.

Ramirez, 34, hit a disappointing .254/.313/.395 with six home runs and 29 RBI in 195 plate appearances for the Red Sox before being designated for assignment on May 25 and released on June 1. The Red Sox maintain that Ramirez’s release had nothing to do with anything off-the-field.