The Red Sox pulled off one of the more surprising transactions of the 2018 season, designating Hanley Ramirez for assignment seemingly out of nowhere. However, he had a vesting option if he reached a certain number of at-bats, so they cut ties for future financial flexibility.
Sure, Ramirez is overpaid. He is due to make $45 million in the final two years of his current deal if it were to vest. But he has been pretty solid in 2018. The 34-year old has 29 RBI this year. He has been average in the contact and power categories but has a respectable .708 OPS and a proven track record that extends over 14 seasons in the big leagues.
The Braves had a failed experiment at third with Jose Bautista. Like Bautista, Hanley’s antics have left a sour taste in the mouths of fans in the past. But if Hanley is willing to switch back to his old position and suit up for the Braves like Jose did, he is worth taking a chance on.
Johan Camargo has deserved a shot to see what he can do every day in the big leagues, but Austin Riley is coming either way and he is likely best suited to be a super utility guy for this team. There is absolutely no shame in that. However, there is no reason for the Braves to rush Riley, though he has definitely performed at a high level in AAA.
Hanley could be a good option to win now while Riley finishes his development in the minor leagues. At the end of the day though, it will be about whether Ramirez can make that switch back to third base, and he certainly may not. His last time playing at third, with the exception of one game in 2015, was during the 2012 campaign.
If Hanley clears waivers and the Braves can give him a market value deal, or if they can strike a deal with the Red Sox to have them eat a large portion of his contract for no talent in return, Hanley is worth a shot. This Braves lineup’s success seems contagious and we all know what he is capable of. He is just two years removed from a 30-homer season for the Sox. He is a guy who could be had for seemingly nothing that could give the Braves a boost.