Ramirez came to Boston with a ready-made reputation as one of the most maddening hitters in the game.
On the hill, Eduardo Rodriguez went 5.2 innings, giving up two runs. The month of May has not been kind to Hanley and because of his play this month he is longer with the team. He told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he expected to be "getting a phone call or be called into the office" to talk about his time in Boston being over when the Red Sox returned from their road trip early Friday morning.
Adding Ramirez's contract to those of Pablo Sandoval (designated for assignment last July) and Rusney Castillo (with Triple-A Pawtucket), the Red Sox have roughly $45 million in dead money. Ramirez also held a $22 million vesting option for 2019 should he reach 497 plate appearances, a number he would have approached toward the end of August at his current pace.
So at some point, the Sox were going to have to cut back on his playing time.
"He's been OK" at first base, said Dombrowski, but "he's not been Mitch Moreland, as far as that is concerned". Ramirez tweeted a farewell to Red Sox fans on Friday afternoon. Add in the salaries of Pablo Sandoval ($18 million), who was released previous year, and Rusney Castillo ($11 million), who was taken off the roster and is playing in Triple-A Pawtucket, and the Red Sox are paying $44 million for players not playing in Boston.
During his four seasons with the Red Sox, Ramirez batted.260 with 78 homers and 255 RBIs.
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Cora provided the cover with a perfectly plausible and rational explanation - he wanted to play Mitch Moreland more, plus he didn't think Ramirez would be happy on the bench - and Dombrowski signed the paperwork. But the difference is, Ramirez also wasn't good in 2015 or 2017.
Look around the league and see how other teams have started to use the DH - it's rarely just one guy. You need more than that from a DH or first baseman. This has become a position used to give regular players rest, and it's been trending in that direction for some time.
Dombrowski said he and Cora talk daily about possible moves.
And now there is positional flexibility. First and foremost, Ramirez hadn't been doing badly this season.
"I think it's going to give me more of an opportunity to get in there", he said.
The three-time All Star represents a better pinch-hitting option than Brock Holt or Blake Swihart and is a career.380 hitter in the postseason. A third baseman, Lowell was the 2007 World Series MVP and batted.290 with 80 homers and 374 RBI from 2006-10.