When the Boston Red Sox signed Hanley Ramirez prior to last season played shortstop and then moved to third base when he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers. When acquiring Hanley, the Red Sox had initially intended to use him at third base. But they also had an offer out to Pablo Sandoval another third basemen. Pablo accepted the offer and that put the Red Sox in a tough situation.
The Red Sox needed an outfielder and figured that they could switch Ramirez to the outfield and just make things work. The experiment in the out field failed to say the least, Hanley’s bat had 10 home runs in the month of April to start the season but after that point his bat cooled off as his miserable play in the filed continued. Towards the end of the year the experiment was considered an absolute failure.
During the off season the Sox had to figure of where Hanley would fit with this team. They had played around with the idea of moving him to first base towards the end of last season. After much deliberation they decided to put Hanley at first over home grown power bat Travis Shaw (who will play 3B/OF/1B).
Hanley's work ethic was poor during his time in the out field and moving to first that is the biggest question that is circling around him as spring training continues.
With two weeks remaining before opening day it is time to have a look in see how Hanley is doing with his transition to first base. So far so good for Ramirez as he has held is own at first and dare I say it, he has looked good.
Who knew Ramirez might actually make this look easy?
As far as Hanleys hitting, he is 32 years old and his days of stealing 50 bases in a season are long gone. Power is also not his best option as he struggled mightily last season after his hot start trying to force the ball out of the park. He plans on going back to the approach he used in 2013 with the Dodgers where he finished 8th in MVP voting with a .345 avg, .402 OBP, and 1.040 OPS.
Ramirez is crediting his improved offensive skills on his healthy approach to this past off season.
With Pablo Sandoval looking like a big problem, it will be nice if Hanley can be part of the solution this season. Not to long ago I had thought Hanley would be an issue, but right now he is helping to change my mind.