Hanley Ramirez explains why he didn't sign last season after Red Sox release

Rob Bradford
March 01, 2019 - 7:40 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was a topic that lingered throughout most of the season: Why wasn't Hanley Ramirez signing with another team after his release from the Red Sox?

Ramirez's agent Adam Katz wouldn't speak for Ramirez, leaving most having to rely on cryptic Instagram photos posted by the first baseman/designated hitter showing him living the vacation life down usually down in the Dominican Republic. Boats. Dune buggies. Cars. Family. Little League games. This is all we had to go by.

Then word finally came out that Ramirez did, indeed, want to play in 2019, making that clear thanks to his participation in the Dominican Winter League.

Thursday Ramirez explained his thought process when it came to not jumping back into baseball following his departure in late-May from the Red Sox.

"After that happened, there were teams calling me to come back," Ramírez told The Athletic. "I told my agent I just wanted to stay home and get my body healthy and come back next year. And he told me, ‘Next year, it’s going to be a little bit harder to get back. It might be a minor-league deal.’

"You know what I told him? I trust in myself. I know I can hit. It doesn’t matter."

Ramirez is rolling the dice with the Indians, the team that has invited to the 35-year-old to camp on a minor-league deal.

Early returns have been positive, although Ramirez still has an uphill climb to make the Cleveland club. Right now, Terry Francona's team has Jake Bauers and Carlos Santana slotted into the first base/designated hitter spots, meaning one of those two would be forced to shift to the outfield in order to make room for Ramirez.

The question is if Ramirez can be the guy the Red Sox leaned on in April, finishing the season's first month with a .330 batting average and .874 OPS? Or will the production in May be more representative of what Ramirez has to offer (.163/.500)?

"I’m a veteran guy and I know what I need to do to get ready for the season," Ramírez said. "The difference is, I have to start earlier this year, to start raking as soon as I can."

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