Report: Orioles considering Hanley Ramirez

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The Orioles are reportedly considering free agent infielder Hanley Ramirez, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The report was later confirmed by the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who says general manager Dan Duquette mentioned the signing was “under consideration.” That doesn’t necessarily mean a deal is imminent, however, especially as the Orioles already have a plethora of first base/designated hitter types at their disposal.

Helping matters: Rosenthal adds that there’s a shared history between Duquette and Ramirez, as the GM orchestrated Ramirez’s four-year, $88-million deal with the Red Sox back in 2014 and has an idea of what the slugger brings to the table. After a four-year run with the Sox, the 34-year-old first baseman was released on Friday in order to clear roster space for the now-injured Dustin Pedroia. He’s batting a modest .254/.313/.395 with six home runs and a .708 OPS in 195 plate appearances this year.

Even assuming Ramirez continued to improve on those numbers, there’s still the question of Baltimore’s first base/DH logjam. Chris Davis is the presumed starter at first, despite his career-worst .152 average and -1.7 fWAR. Mark Trumbo, Danny Valencia, and Pedro Alvarez have been trading off DH duties in the meantime, and both Trumbo and Valencia are hitting at a fair clip above Ramirez, too. On the other hand, the Orioles likely won’t be the only team interested in the veteran infielder this year, so Ramirez may not want to jump at the first offer he gets.

Phillies select active duty Navy aviator in MLB Rule 5 draft

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SAN DIEGO — The Philadelphia Phillies took U.S. Navy aviator Noah Song in the Rule 5 draft Wednesday, hoping the former top pitching prospect can still be effective once he completes his military service.

There is no definitive date on when the 25-year-old Song might be able to join the Phillies.

Song was picked from the Boston Red Sox system in the draft for unprotected minor league players. Philadelphia put him on the military list while he continues his active duty and he won’t count on the 40-man roster, the pool from which major league teams can select players for the 26-man active roster.

Song impressed in his only pro season, making seven starts for Boston’s Class A Lowell affiliate in 2019, with a 1.06 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. With a fastball clocked in the upper 90s mph, the right-hander dominated that year as a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, going 11-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 94 innings.

The Red Sox drafted Song in the fourth round – he likely would’ve gone much higher, but his impending military service caused teams to back off.

In November 2019, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo clearing the way for athletes at the nation’s military academies to delay their service commitments and play pro sports after graduation. Song’s request to have those new rules retroactively applied to his case was denied.

Song began school as a flight officer in the summer of 2020 and finished that phase last April. He started additional aviation training in May.

Song was among the 15 players, including three Boston pitchers, taken in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft, which wasn’t held last year because of the MLB lockout.

Washington took righty Thad Ward from Boston’s Triple-A roster with the first pick. Baltimore took Red Sox minor league pitcher Andrew Politi with the ninth choice and the Phillies chose Song with the 11th selection.

Teams pay $100,000 to take players in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. The players must stay on the big league roster next season or go on waivers and, if unclaimed, be offered back to their original organization for $50,000.