Panda chooses Red Sox, so does Hanley Ramirez

As the Red Sox sign two big name free agents their team gets a bit overcrowded. What moves are likely now for Boston?

Hanley Ramirez. Getty Images.

The Boston Red Sox surprised no one when they went after free agent Pablo Sandoval. The question then was would Sandoval choose to leave the San Francisco Giants (or go with the late to the game player San Diego Padres) for Boston. Today we have that answer.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman has reported that Sandoval and the Red Sox have finalized a five-year deal worth somewhere close to the vicinity of $100 million.

Sandoval was hoping for a six-year deal so it wouldn’t be surprising if the deal includes vesting options for 2020 or later.

Clearly neither the Giants nor the Padres (who reportedly offered more money than the Red Sox) did not offer what Panda was looking for.

The story got even more interesting Sunday night, as everyone already knew that Sandoval was leaning towards being Boston’s new third baseman, when the story broke that free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez was also close to signing a similar deal with the Red Sox.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted that sources said the Ramirez deal was basically done and that the infielder would be flying to Boston Monday morning to sign the contract.

Hanley Ramirez’s contract is supposed to also be for five-years and around $90 million. Hanley began his career in Boston before being traded to the Marlins in 2005 and still has a close relationship with David Ortiz

Back in 2011, Big Papi had this to say about the then Miami shortstop,

“Hanley is like a little brother to me.”

So it makes sense that Ramirez would want to go back to the organization he orginally came up with. What is hard to make sense of is what the Red Sox are planning to do with both Sandoval and Ramirez. 

They need a third baseman but they have the young, talented Xander Bogaerts who plays at short.

Technically, Ramirez could play in left field, a position he has only ever played in winter ball. Yet, if that were the case it would leave the team with oh, about a million outfielders.

They would have Yoenis Cespedes surrounding whom there has been talk of being a possible trade chip for Boston.

Still, the Red Sox would still have Allen Craig, Shane Victorino, Rusney Castillo, Mookie BettsDaniel Nava and Brock Holt. Add Ramirez to that already crowded list and you still have six players and only two open spots.

Ok, what now? Well, with all the extra outfielders, and perhaps an extra shortstop in Bogaerts, the team could trade to get some much needed starting pitching.

The best available via trade? Easily the Philadelphia Phillies’ left-hander Cole Hamels. The Phillies are seeking young talent whether in the form of prospects or even a young talent ready for the big leagues right now.

Of course the Red Sox have also been linked to free agent left-handed starter and former member of the Red Sox, Jon Lester

David  Ortiz. Will Mcnamee / Getty Images
David Ortiz. Will Mcnamee / Getty Images

Another scenario could be that the Red Sox are looking to Sandoval or Ramirez to eventually replace Big Papi,who just turned 39 and is signed through 2015 with team options for 2016-17, at the designated hitter position.

Even if this is their eventual plan the Red Sox would still need to unload some players because Big Papi won’t be going anywhere for a long minute. He hit 35 home runs and drove in 104 in 2014.

His skills are not declining and he’s a Boston icon (despite spending the first six of his 18 seasons with the Minnesota Twins), it is unlikely that he’ll leave baseball without it being on his terms.

It’s possible they could do it all. They’ve got Sandoval and should have Ramirez by the end of the day, trade for Hamels and sign Lester.

Even if all of that occurs they’d still be laden with some extra players who’d have to be sent down or designated for assignment but those things happen.

The Red Sox have already pretty much won the offseason and we might see what happened in 2013 happen again.

The Red Sox went from last to first and back to last in the past three seasons. Is another World Series on the horizon for Boston?

I don’t know. What I do know is that I REALLY wish that they would make a trade with the Oakland A’s. We’ll take Xander Bogaerts off your hands, no problem – I know, I know, I’m totally reaching but it would be nice wouldn’t it?! 🙂 

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