Hanley Ramirez began fielding grounders at first base last week and acknowledged to reporters that he is being asked to move there for the 2016 season, adding that he’s “looking forward to” the change after a dreadful summer in left field.
Hanley was expected to get a couple starts at first base down the stretch in September and then focus entirely on the new position leading into 2016. But that experiment has been expedited with Hanley currently battling a left shoulder injury and Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, and Jackie Bradley Jr. playing so well together in the Boston outfield.
Via beat writer Sean McAdam of CSNNewEngland.com …
Asked if he expected to see Ramirez play the outfield again in 2015, Lovullo answered: “I do not.”
Questioned about the change, Lovullo said there were a number of factors that went into the decision.
“I think we’ve just walked through a couple of scenarios,” said Lovullo, “and I think that with how the young kids have been doing in the outfield, we want to give them the time there that they deserve. And I think the timing of Hanley’s injury is pushing him back a little bit. It’s just condensing that ability to go and play left field until he transitions to first base.
The reworking of the Red Sox has already begun under new club president Dave Dombrowski.
Ramirez, 31, is owed $22.75 million per year through 2018. He also carries a vesting option for 2019.
Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.
Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.
Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.
As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.