Nelson Cruz: “I’ve only ever played outfield and DH.”
Jerry Dipoto: “It’s not that hard, Nelson. Tell him, Wash.”
Ron Washington: “It’s incredibly hard.”
Dipoto: “Wait, don’t you work for the Braves?”
Cruz: “Seriously, how did you get in my living room, Wash?”
Nelson Cruz won the Edgar Martinez Award as the best DH in the game in 2017. Indeed, he’s absolutely mashed over the past three years, hitting 126 homers. The Mariners have seemed pretty darn happy with that. He played only five games in the outfield in 2017 and only 48 games there in 2016. Given that he’ll turn 38 this season, it’s pretty likely that the Mariners will remain fine with that for the duration.
Not that that’s stopping Cruz from broadening his horizons. He just posted an Instagram video of himself taking grounders at first base with the caption, “Versatility is important.”
I’m assuming this is more for fun than anything else given that (a) Cruz has never played even a third of an inning at first base; and (b) the M’s just traded for a Ryon Healy to man the position. But hey, you never know, right?
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.