By Kevin Flanagan
BSD Senior Staff Writer
The experiment is over, and it has been as close to a complete failure as you can possibly get. While many covering the team believe it is a foregone conclusion that the Red Sox will be handing Pablo Sandoval his walking papers sooner, rather than later; another set should be drawn for his free-agent signing failure twin – Hanley Ramirez.
While Sandoval has clearly lost his ability to play the game, it seems Hanley the Hound has lost his will to. His stat line this season is startlingly sad – he is hitting only .250, with 8 home runs and 25 RBI, through 53 games – especially for a guy who claimed he wanted take after his idol and former teammate; the freshly retired David Ortiz.
In spring training, he spoke about how Ortiz made sure that he got his old locker in Fort Myers, and how he wanted to be a leader of the team now that the future Hall of Famer was no longer in the Sox clubhouse.
If anyone took even a moment before laughing out loud when they heard that statement, I’ve got some oceanfront property in Iowa that you might be interested in.
Sure, there are rumors of shoulder issues that have hindered his production. If that is the case, put him on the DL, and let him throw sunflower seeds at the sideline reporter instead of getting four unproductive at-bats a game.
The Red Sox offense is currently drastically different than it was a year ago with Ortiz – and when Hanley the Hound was actually playing for something; his friend – and having an injured – I would argue disinterested – DH playing the role of a black hole in it, isn’t helping.
Ramirez ranks 12th out of 18 designated hitters in the American League in RBI, trailing legends such as Ryon Healy (Oakland, 37), Corey Dickerson (Tampa Bay, 31), Shin-Soo Choo (Texas, 29), and something named Matt Davidson (CWS, 27).
He is tied at 11th, with the ghost of Carlos Beltran in home runs at the position, with eight; and his slugging percentage – in his case, slug percentage might be a more appropriate term – of .410, qualifies him for the 10th spot in the league.
And not only has he been largely unproductive, he has been uncooperative, as well. The Red Sox gave him a well-defined role as early as last winter – he was going to DH against right handed pitching, and play first against lefties – and fib-telling Terrier, had the Sox brass believing the misleading mutt would do what he actually said he would do.
Instead, as was predicted in this spot prior to the start of the season, Ramirez had taken the selfish “my way or the highway” approach that he has all 12 years of his career; and once again has put himself, over his team.
Former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington can draft, there is no doubt about that. He is a big reason why the team has such young talent as Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez contributing to the club at the major-league level. However, he is also the reason – assuming that the Sandoval release is imminent, which it certainly is – that John Henry has $106.3 million in dead contracts hanging from his neck (Allen Craig $5.5M, Rusney Castillo $46M, Sandoval $54.8) currently.
As painful as it may be to the Sox principle owner, it is time that team president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski sweeps up the trash that is Sandoval and Hanley the Hound, and deposits it in the dumpster once and for all.
It is time that the team takes a look at what they have in Sam Travis – who unlike Hanley, wants to be here and would play first against southpaws – before the trade deadline approaches in July. Travis has pop, and in his limited time with the team, this year hit .471, with two doubles and a stolen base in just 17 at-bats.
It is time the team admits that they have to move on from two guys they never should have signed in the first place. It is time that they stop putting Ramirez and Sandoval in the recycle bin, and put them in the garbage bin, where they belong.