Orioles have interest in free agent Casey Kotchman

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From MASN’s Roch Kubatko comes word that the Orioles “have discussed” the idea of making a run at free agent first baseman Casey Kotchman.

It’s not clear whether those talks were all internal or whether there’s been direct contact with Kotchman’s representatives. But it does seem like a decent fit.

Kotchman is an elite defensive first baseman and registered a solid .306/.378/.422 batting line in 563 plate appearances last season for the Rays. Signing him would allow Baltimore to make Chris Davis the primary designated hitter while also pushing Wilson Betemit to a utility role. The Indians have also been linked recently to Kotchman.

The Red Sox to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.