Pitchers and catchers report next week and, at present, there are close to 100 free agents with nowhere to train. The market is making it hard enough for the players to find work, but if they’re seen as falling behind, conditioning and training wise, it may be even harder for them to get signed once spring training begins.
To that end, Tim Brown of Yahoo reports that the MLB Players Association is going to hold training camps for free agents:
The baseball players’ union is scouting sites and making preliminary arrangements to conduct its own spring training for as many as 100 unsigned free agents, sources said Wednesday . . . The IMG baseball academy in Bradenton, Florida, was believed to be among at least three options. The union also is identifying coaches and other personnel to staff the facility.
The last time something like this happened was in 1995, during the last work stoppage, as unionized players trained in Homestead, Florida as owners began spring training with would-be strikebreakers before resolution of the work stoppage. This time the circumstances are certainly different, but the need for players to train to be ready for the season is the same.
Should be good and awkward.
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.