As a good and proper fanboy, I felt obligated to swing by Fredi Gonzalez’s managerial availability a few minutes ago. Of note:
- He likes the team. Said “we have a lot of good players.” Whew! I can’t imagine the awkwardness that would go down if he said all the players sucked;
- He is obviously happy to be in Atlanta and out of Miami. He said that he’s been recognized out around town in Atlanta by fans more in the couple if months since he’s been hired than he was recognized as the Marlins guy during his entire tenure in Miami.
- He was asked about what the team might be doing between now and spring training. Short answer: not a ton. More on the bullpen obviously. Backup outfield too. That’s about it. To that end he said that the team has discussed bringing Andruw Jones back as a fourth or fifth outfielder. Others say that’s not terribly likely, however.
Interesting stuff listening to the manager whose team you root for in that setting. The urge to plead with him not to do a bunch of things you fear he’ll do this season is really, really strong. Thank God I’m a pro.
Former Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez is reportedly being “eyed” in an ongoing federal and state investigation, per Michele McPhee of ABC News. McPhee did not elaborate on the exact nature of the investigation itself, but provided a few more details during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday:
“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said. “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.”
McPhee further clarified that she thinks the suspect — who was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine — was tied to “a sweeping federal case involving a substantial ring that’s being operated out of Lawrence, Massachusetts.”
Ramirez, the Red Sox, and Major League Baseball have all denied knowledge of any current investigation. According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg insisted that Ramirez had been dropped from the team for baseball reasons alone and had not been made aware of an investigation at the time of his release.
“Hanley has no knowledge of any of the allegations contained in this media report and he is not aware of any investigation,” the infielder’s agent, Adam Katz, added Friday.
The 34-year-old Ramirez was designated for assignment on May 25 and became a free agent on June 1. Prior to his release, he batted .254/.313/.395 over 195 plate appearances, 302 shy of the 497-PA threshold he would have needed to cross in order to activate his vesting option for 2019. He’s still owed the remainder of his $22 million salary for 2018.