Can Hanley Ramirez actually do first base?
Hanley Ramirez has never been an asset in the field.
In 11 big league seasons, he has compiled a -6.5 dWAR and last year was his worst year defensive season of them all. The Boston Red Sox tried him out in left field, although he had never played the outfield. They learned he wasn’t an outfielder as he posted a -2.5 dWAR in 747.2 innings, the equivalent of about 83 games, roughly half the season.
Had he played every inning of every game for the Red Sox last year, it would have been even more ugly. But now, this season, since Hanley could not play one position that he had never ever played in his life, the Red Sox organization is going to try him out at another — first base, which is generally considered a tougher position defensively than left field.
At first, reporters suggested the possibility of Hanley at first — because he has failed in the outfield and the two spots on the right side of the outfield are filled. And he is below average at both of them.
But when the Red Sox hired Dave Dombrowksi as there team president, he decided it was time to move Hanley elsewhere.
There might be reason to believe that Hanley can handle it though.
“I’ve always been an infielder, so it’s going to be easy,” Ramirez told ESPN Boston last Saturday at the Red Sox’s Baseball Winter Weekend event at Foxwoods Resort Casino. “I think I know more territory and I’m going to feel more comfortable at first.”
Here’s some footage of him playing first base.
Oh yeah, that’s the Gold Glove defense he’s getting $22 million a year for.
In all seriousness though, Ramirez cut 20 pounds this offseason, so he should be at least a little bit more athletic for what that’s worth. Not to mention he is in an infielder — and has been for his entire career, other than last year.
If all else fails, Travis Shaw is projected to make the team as a utility player. He could start at first…