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Friday, May 25, 2018

Red Sox to part ways with Hanley Ramirez

According to a major league source, the Red Sox informed Ramirez Friday morning that they will designate him for assignment in order to open a spot on the major league roster for Dustin Pedroia, who is returning from the disabled list after his rehab from offseason knee surgery.

The Red Sox are responsible for more than $15 million remaining on Ramirez’s salary through the duration of this season. They will have seven days to trade or release him.

The decision to part ways with the 34-year-old Ramirez may avoid a potentially awkward situation related to his $22 million vesting option for 2019. With a total of 497 plate appearances this year, Ramirez would have been guaranteed another $22 million next season. He’d already accumulated 195, putting him on pace to blow past the required number to secure his salary for next season.

Seems like his recent slump is an excuse to get out of the contract.

Greg Pope Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:08 PM | 72 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hanley ramirez, red sox

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:32 PM (#5679598)
Seems like his recent slump is an excuse to get out of the contract.

The rare case where a team was probably thrilled that a high priced player was playing poorly.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:34 PM (#5679601)
They could have easily and justifiably cut his playing time in order to avoid the vesting option...
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:41 PM (#5679608)
They could have easily and justifiably cut his playing time in order to avoid the vesting option...

But they probably feared that he would see through that, and become a major irritant/distraction.
   4. villageidiom Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:42 PM (#5679609)
Seems like his recent slump is an excuse to get out of the contract.

Going into spring training there was some question about what his role would be, with Boston renewing a contract with Mitch Moreland (who manned 1B most of last season instead of Hanley) and signing J.D. Martinez for DH. But Cora started off the year saying Hanley was his starting 1B, and that was it. Hanley was going to be the starting 1B until he proved he wasn't worthy. That it took until the end of May was a pleasant surprise.

ESPN and others report that the vesting year is now gone. Is that true? I mean, obviously if he's not playing he won't get the 302 PA needed for it to vest; but couldn't it vest if someone picks him up?

I've seen others suggest that if he got picked up AND played enough for the extra year to vest, the team picking him up would have to pay for the vesting year because it was earned on their watch. I don't think I've ever witnessed a case where a player was released, another team took on his old contract, and the old team wasn't on the hook for all but the minimum. I don't recall if any of those situations had vesting years.

If Boston were on the hook for it, some other team could pick him up, play him for a couple of months, let the year vest, and then release him, costing Boston $22m and putting them way over the CBT threshold for next year. Is there a reason a likely beneficiary of the CBT wouldn't do this?
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5679610)
So who has the filthiest hair on the team now?
   6. Greg Pope Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:46 PM (#5679611)
I had the same question as VI. Obviously if the Sox trade him, the new team is on the hook for the vesting option. If the Sox released Hanley after plate appearance 496, he files a grievance and wins. In this case I don't see a grievance coming, at least not a winnable one. But if he's outright cut, does the vesting option go away completely?
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5679616)
Bit of a surprise, it seems, since the speculation I saw about who would go when Pedroia came back didn't include Ramirez. Not indefensible, but I doubt he goes absent the option being a factor.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5679618)
But they probably feared that he would see through that, and become a major irritant/distraction.
Maybe. But given his productivity, there would have been nothing really to "see through."

Edit: If the vesting option was driving their motivations, why did they lock him in as a starter and #3 hitter to start the season. Something doesn't add up.
   9. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5679620)
Talk about the power of small sample sizes. When I saw this thread I was scratching my head in wonder, since Hanley's OPS against the Yankees this year is 1.343, the highest by far against any opponent.

And then I saw the rest of those numbers, especially the more recent ones, and yeah, now I get it.
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 25, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5679622)

I remember when Hanley was 24 and was the guy that everyone said they would pick first if they were starting a franchise -- or maybe #2 after A-Rod.
   11. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: May 25, 2018 at 01:01 PM (#5679626)
ESPN and others report that the vesting year is now gone. Is that true? I mean, obviously if he's not playing he won't get the 302 PA needed for it to vest; but couldn't it vest if someone picks him up?

I've seen others suggest that if he got picked up AND played enough for the extra year to vest, the team picking him up would have to pay for the vesting year because it was earned on their watch. I don't think I've ever witnessed a case where a player was released, another team took on his old contract, and the old team wasn't on the hook for all but the minimum. I don't recall if any of those situations had vesting years.

If Boston were on the hook for it, some other team could pick him up, play him for a couple of months, let the year vest, and then release him, costing Boston $22m and putting them way over the CBT threshold for next year. Is there a reason a likely beneficiary of the CBT wouldn't do this?


If he's traded, he'll be on his current contract and the option would still be valid. Once he's released and clears waivers, his current contract is done (except for the guaranteed money the Sox owe him) and when signing with a new team it's a new contract (and the Sox don't owe him the amount of the new contract).

If a team claimed him, played him enough to vest the option, they are on the hook for it since they assumed his contract.
   12. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 25, 2018 at 01:04 PM (#5679629)
If Boston were on the hook for it, some other team could pick him up, play him for a couple of months, let the year vest, and then release him, costing Boston $22m and putting them way over the CBT threshold for next year. Is there a reason a likely beneficiary of the CBT wouldn't do this?

Going one step further, could another team make a trade with a CBT benificiary team that was contingent on that team also signing Ramirez? Asking for a friend.

EDIT: #11 seems to preclude that, since I don't see another team picking up Ramirez's current contract. Poor Hanley may meet the option vesting criteria, and still not get paid, if he ends up being released before being resigned.
   13. Rally Posted: May 25, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5679636)
ESPN and others report that the vesting year is now gone. Is that true? I mean, obviously if he's not playing he won't get the 302 PA needed for it to vest; but couldn't it vest if someone picks him up?


This situation happened with Frank Thomas in 2008. I forget how many PA he was short from vesting in Toronto. The fact that it's a new contract does have one advantage for the player: it removes the disincentive for a new team to sign him. If Oakland had been on the hook for whatever 2009 option Frank had, they never would have let him finish out his career there. Frank would have finished his career with 516 homers instead of 521, and by missing the magic 520 number would not have been a first ballot HOFer.

Just kidding, Frank was a first ballot HOFer when he left the White Sox. But if these types of vesting options did not go away when a player was released, they'd have to waive them in order to get a contract and continue their career anyway.
   14. Greg Pope Posted: May 25, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5679638)
But if these types of vesting options did not go away when a player was released, they'd have to waive them in order to get a contract and continue their career anyway.

Unless the original team was the one on the hook for the option.
   15. villageidiom Posted: May 25, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5679648)
So who has the filthiest hair on the team now?
I would assume Pedroia. He's mostly bald, but I think his beard is something like 20% hair, 60% infield dirt, 15% pine tar, and 5% cribbage board pegs.
   16. Rally Posted: May 25, 2018 at 02:44 PM (#5679664)
Unless the original team was the one on the hook for the option.


In that case I assume the Yankees would pick him up and play him just to make the Red Sox pay the 2019 option.
   17. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 25, 2018 at 03:03 PM (#5679669)
This is similar to the Rockies situation - they have a first baseman who is also making $22 million, who they also signed as a free agent with visions of "flexibility" even though in the end he could only really play first base. The biggest differences are (a) Ian Desmond has been much worse than Hanley, and (b) the Rox show no signs of dumping him.
   18. Gch exhales the vast drunken folly of Epicurus Posted: May 25, 2018 at 03:16 PM (#5679671)
This situation happened with Frank Thomas in 2008. I forget how many PA he was short from vesting in Toronto.


304. Thomas was slumping, the Jays had told him that they were going to make Matt Stairs the starting DH, and things rapidly declined from there.
   19. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 25, 2018 at 04:12 PM (#5679698)
Unless the original team was the one on the hook for the option.

In which case the Red Sox probably don't release him straight away, but let him rot on the bench / give him part time duty, for a month or two, until there is no chance for it to vest, before cutting bait. It works out worse for both sides, since it costs the player playing time, plus the additional money he would get on a new contract. And clogs a roster spot for the team that has to hold onto him longer than they want to.
   20. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 25, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5679700)
In that case I assume the Yankees would pick him up and play him just to make the Red Sox pay the 2019 option.

I mean, they maybe still should, right? Neil Walker at 1B has been the biggest hole on their roster. Hanley has been bad, but Walker has been worse.
   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 25, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5679701)
even though in the end he could only really play first base


He can still play some other positions - he just isn't better than their other options at those positions.
   22. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 25, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5679713)
I mean, they maybe still should, right? Neil Walker at 1B has been the biggest hole on their roster. Hanley has been bad, but Walker has been worse.

Tyler Austin has put up an .832 OPS filing in at first, and Greg Bird is back from the DL tomorrow (assuming he isn't injured in transit). No roster room for Ramirez.
   23. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 25, 2018 at 04:35 PM (#5679716)
Hasn't Walker been hitting the last few weeks? Obviously getting Bird back makes the discussion moot (until his leg falls off or something) but Walker and Ramirez seem like opposite sides of the same coin. One got off to a great start and has been terrible, the other had a terrible start but has been good since.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: May 25, 2018 at 05:01 PM (#5679722)
I didn't see this coming but I had forgotten about the vesting option. Is Swihart still really on the 25-man roster (per b-r)?

This brings it to 1.4 WAR for $88 M. Oops.

Given Bautista, Melky and Mark Reynolds all got PAs this week, Hanley will get an opportunity elsewhere. But this is probably the end for all intents and purposes. So 38 WAR but 50 oWAR. He was defensively terrible wherever he played. Signing both Panda and Hanley never made any sense. (Panda also got off to a decent start, has slumped but is still above-replacement this year.)
   25. villageidiom Posted: May 25, 2018 at 05:25 PM (#5679728)
Boston will be over the CBT threshold for 2018. They'll pay a 20% tax on any costs over the threshold. As far as the Hanley contract is concerned, that's a sunk cost, a done deal, whatever.

Even without Hanley's contract vesting, they will certainly be over the threshold in 2019. They have like 10 players in arbitration, some of them being significant contributors; and they have several high contracts that aren't going away quite yet. They are likely to pay to replace any departing free agents as well. So next year they pay 30% tax on any amounts over the threshold.

Let's say the Marlins will be a revenue-sharing recipient after 2019. Let's also say they pick up Hanley from Boston and the vesting clause is still there, and that Boston pays if it vests. So the Marlins pay Hanley $180k to play for a couple of months, and his 2019 year vests. Boston owes another $22.5m, which will be taxed at 30%. That's another $7.5 million in additional taxes.

IIRC, a little less than half the money collected from the CBT is distributed to the teams that did not pay a tax. So let's say there are 24 teams that avoid paying the tax in 2019, and an additional $3.6 million in taxes from Hanley's vesting year. Split among 24 teams it's an additional $150k in revenues. The break-even point is 20 teams receiving the money, which would mean 10 teams paying the tax, which I think is unlikely even with the Machados and Harpers of the world being up for grabs as free agents along the way.

But hey, it gets pretty close, doesn't it? For a team like the Marlins it would be a net cost of $30k for two months of Hanley Ramirez to trigger the vesting year. They of all teams might get a marketing boost from bringing him back.
   26. villageidiom Posted: May 25, 2018 at 05:27 PM (#5679731)
I didn't see this coming but I had forgotten about the vesting option. Is Swihart still really on the 25-man roster (per b-r)?
Swihart is out of options, so yes. He has been riding the bench because there aren't enough playing opportunities for him and Hanley and Moreland and Martinez and Holt across 1B and DH. Tossing Hanley gives him a chance to play. Occasionally.
   27. Captain Supporter Posted: May 25, 2018 at 06:10 PM (#5679736)
I mean, they maybe still should, right? Neil Walker at 1B has been the biggest hole on their roster. Hanley has been bad, but Walker has been worse.


Obviously you don't pay the slightest attention to the Yankees. Tyler Austen has been excellent against left handed pitching, Greg Bird returns tomorrow, and Neil Walker, after a very slow start, has been one of the best hitters on the team in the last couple of weeks. The Yankees have a problem, all right, but it involves who to cut, not whether they should sign the albatross named Hanley Ramirez.
   28. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 25, 2018 at 07:48 PM (#5679751)
I for one am shocked that the nanny is letting all this CBT talk go uncensored.
   29. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 25, 2018 at 09:14 PM (#5679794)
Let's say the Marlins will be a revenue-sharing recipient after 2019.
Really going out on a limb there...
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 25, 2018 at 10:34 PM (#5679872)
Dombrowski & Cora credit Cora for moving Ramirez:
Both men stated that Cora reached out unprompted to suggest that Ramirez ought to be the player removed to make way for the return of Dustin Pedroia. Though Dombrowski says he was surprised to hear that recommendation from the rookie skipper, and noted that he had been “prepared to go in a different direction,” the veteran baseball ops executive elected to cut ties with the highly paid Ramirez. In his comments, Cora thanked Dombrowski for trusting his judgment.

It seems there was some concern on the part of all involved that Ramirez would not be a good candidate for a part-time role, which he was headed for after a tough recent run at the plate. On the flip side, Dombrowski says Cora assuaged any worry that bumping Ramirez would harm chemistry in the clubhouse.

The fact that Ramirez’s contract includes a vesting option for the 2019 season did not come into play, Dombrowski was careful to note. “The vesting option has nothing to do with it,” he said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to win.” Whether or not it was a driving factor in the decision, the option can no longer vest, as it had been on track to do had Ramirez remained a semi-regular part of the Boston lineup.

Had the same number of RBI as Mike Trout when DFA, which might not happen again soon.
   31. John DiFool2 Posted: May 25, 2018 at 10:43 PM (#5679877)
And then I saw the rest of those numbers, especially the more recent ones, and yeah, now I get it.


Just checked, knew he was in a slump, but...

12 for last 71, 3 dingers, .510 OPS. 0 for last 20.
   32. ptodd Posted: May 26, 2018 at 02:18 AM (#5679912)
Hanley has not been the same hitter since being hit on the wrist by Sonny Gray in April

That said Hanley has been a Yankee killer and has decent numbers in the post season. Letting him go to keep Swihart proves its about the vesting option as Cora refused to sit him in favor of the hotter hitter Moreland , worried he might be accused of doing DD dirty work.


I suspect Hanley ends up in Baltimore and they bench Davis for a couple of months before trading Hanley to the Red Sox if he has been hitting. Moreland will regress to his career numbers. Also injuries are unpredictable so they might actually need him back. No worries about a vesting option at that point since its a new contract
   33. ptodd Posted: May 26, 2018 at 02:21 AM (#5679913)
#25

"IIRC, a little less than half the money collected from the CBT is distributed to the teams that did not pay a tax. "

CBT is not shared . You are confusing it with revenue sharing dollars
   34. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: May 26, 2018 at 05:37 AM (#5679917)
Had to be done. But here's a player who after his first five AMAZING years in Florida was 26 only entering his prime years and looked like not a potential HOFer but a virtual lock.
   35. villageidiom Posted: May 26, 2018 at 07:51 AM (#5679925)
CBT is not shared . You are confusing it with revenue sharing dollars
From the CBA, page 129-130:
H. Uses of Competitive Balance Tax Proceeds
Competitive Balance Tax proceeds collected pursuant to Section B(6) above shall be used as follows. Subsection H(1) sets forth the allocation for Competitive Balance Tax proceeds from the 2016 Contract Year only. Subsection H(2) sets forth the allocation for Competitive Balance Tax proceeds from all other Contract Years during the term of the Basic Agreement.
...
(2) 2017–21 Competitive Balance Tax Proceeds (a) The first $13 million of proceeds collected for each Contract Year shall be used to defray the Clubs’ funding obligations arising from the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan Agreements. (b) 50% of the remaining proceeds collected for each Contract Year, with accrued interest, shall be used to fund contributions to the Players’ individual retirement accounts, as provided in the Major League Baseball Players Benefit Plan Agreements. (c) The other 50% of the remaining proceeds collected for each Contract Year, with accrued interest, shall be provided to Clubs that did not exceed the Base Tax Threshold in that Contract Year.
   36. Mudpout Posted: May 26, 2018 at 08:41 AM (#5679932)
Bit of a surprise, but I guess it shouldn't have been. While the talk is understandably about the vesting option, I just want to point out his '16 season, which was actually a heckuva year. With divided opinion on whether he'd be playable at 1st and a ton of doubt as to whether he'd be much better than a league-average hitter, he was decently decent in the field, even making a slick play from time to time, and hit like the player the Sox thought they were signing.

Wasn't worth $88 million, but at least he had one season that was more than just the month-long flashes featured between lingering injuries in the other three.
   37. puck Posted: May 26, 2018 at 01:12 PM (#5679975)
The biggest differences are (a) Ian Desmond has been much worse than Hanley, and (b) the Rox show no signs of dumping him.


Sadder to me is the corpse of Carlos Gonzalez. Not as putrid as Desmond but I guess he is finished. He was a thrilling player there for a while and made losing Matt Holliday not a big deal at all.
   38. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 26, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5679996)
Yeah, it's a real shame. You know you're finished when you don't deserve playing time ahead of Gerardo Parra. At least now there's no excuse not to have David Dahl in the lineup every day.
   39. Ray (CTL) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 05:16 PM (#5680797)
I remember when Hanley was 24 and was the guy that everyone said they would pick first if they were starting a franchise -- or maybe #2 after A-Rod.


Hmm, doesn't seem like it was an unreasonable statement at the time. He was a tremendous player -- even now he's at 38 WAR -- but he just couldn't stay at SS due to his bad defense. If his name was Jeter he'd have remained at the position. Jeter was just as bad there but stayed there because Yankee.

Hanley's career trajectory is similar to Nomar's, actually. Except that Nomar was a much better fielder and what wrecked Nomar's career -- moreso than the oft-cited wrist injury -- was that he was traded for no apparent reason and then moved off the position for no apparent reason.
   40. Ray (CTL) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 05:20 PM (#5680800)
Bit of a surprise, but I guess it shouldn't have been. While the talk is understandably about the vesting option, I just want to point out his '16 season, which was actually a heckuva year. With divided opinion on whether he'd be playable at 1st and a ton of doubt as to whether he'd be much better than a league-average hitter, he was decently decent in the field, even making a slick play from time to time, and hit like the player the Sox thought they were signing.

Wasn't worth $88 million, but at least he had one season that was more than just the month-long flashes featured between lingering injuries in the other three.


Once his offense slipped he would only really be an asset at 3B. He doesn't hit enough to be a plus player at LF or 1B or DH. At best he can sometimes battle those positions to a draw. As you say it happened once in three (going on four) years.
   41. manchestermets Posted: May 28, 2018 at 05:53 PM (#5680811)
Have the Mets signed him yet?
   42. BDC Posted: May 28, 2018 at 07:28 PM (#5680831)
If his name was Jeter he'd have remained at the position. Jeter was just as bad there but stayed there because Yankee

I don't think that's true. Well, through age 28 or so, let's say that Jeter and Ramirez were equally bad at shortstop. Then Jeter, thanks to health and hard work, reached a point where he didn't get much worse for the next 12 years.

Ramirez, by his early 30s, reached a point where he wasn't a good OF and not much of a 1B either. That tends to indicate that if he'd stayed at SS, he'd have quickly become worse than anyone's lowest opinion of Derek Jeter at SS.
   43. Ray (CTL) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 10:35 PM (#5680980)
I don't think that's true. Well, through age 28 or so, let's say that Jeter and Ramirez were equally bad at shortstop. Then Jeter, thanks to health and hard work, reached a point where he didn't get much worse for the next 12 years.


Scanning Jeter's RField numbers there's really no discernable pattern over the course of his career. I mean, sure, he didn't get "much worse" -- but he was already at an all-time bad level.

Ramirez, by his early 30s, reached a point where he wasn't a good OF and not much of a 1B either. That tends to indicate that if he'd stayed at SS, he'd have quickly become worse than anyone's lowest opinion of Derek Jeter at SS.


I doubt Jeter could have done much better at LF or 1B than Ramirez was. And I don't see any reason to assume that IF skill would translate to good OF skill in the majors at age 29+.
   44. PreservedFish Posted: May 28, 2018 at 10:46 PM (#5681008)
Ramirez was an epic Todd Hundley style disaster in LF, I would expect that essentially every player in baseball, at any age, would transition better than he did.
   45. Ray (CTL) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:07 PM (#5681049)
Ramirez was an epic Todd Hundley style disaster in LF, I would expect that essentially every player in baseball, at any age, would transition better than he did.


I would expect that most would translate just as he did, and I said so at the time. That's my point; just because it's easier to find a good-hitting LF than a good-hitting SS that's no reason to assume that it's easy for MLB infielders to _move_ to the OF mid-career. The mistake people are making is that they're conflating two very different concepts.
   46. BDC Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:21 PM (#5681068)
he was already at an all-time bad level

Jeter has several of the worst seasons by RField ever at SS, true. But most fielders get steadily worse and truly have to move down the spectrum (if they can hit). Try to imagine Ramirez playing SS at the age of 37, and if that’s not horrifying enough, imagine Gary Sheffield or Jim Thome there at 37, or Harmon Killebrew, or Adam Dunn. Jeter may have been below the waterline his whole career, but he stayed pretty high up the iceberg in absolute terms.

Changing positions is not really the point, except that Ramirez couldn’t handle it either. It simply tends to show that he would have become intolerable at SS.
   47. Ray (CTL) Posted: May 28, 2018 at 11:22 PM (#5681072)
Where is the original Hanley signing thread from November 2014? I can't seem to find it.
   48. Hank Gillette Posted: May 29, 2018 at 12:13 AM (#5681134)
That's my point; just because it's easier to find a good-hitting LF than a good-hitting SS that's no reason to assume that it's easy for MLB infielders to _move_ to the OF mid-career.


Robin Yount? Pete Rose? There are a number of first basemen-type players who manage to at least wrestle LF to a draw. Desmond was close to an average CF moving from SS. Ramirez seemed to be almost uniquely bad at playing at the outfield.
   49. Walt Davis Posted: May 29, 2018 at 01:13 AM (#5681146)
I've pointed this stuff out before but it's always fun.

Banks: 12 dWAR through 30, moved due to health/injury, -7 dWAR after age 30
Jeter: -6 dWAR after age 30

Yount: 13 dWAR through 28, moved due to injury, -6 dWAR for 29-37
Jeter: -4.5 dWAR for 29-37

Rickey 31-40: -7.5 dWAR
Jeter: -6

Raines: -8.6 career dWAR
Gwynn: -7.6 career dWAR
Jeter: -8.3 career dWAR

Jeter looks like a singles/doubles-hitting corner OF with speed who somehow got to play SS his entire career.

And I don't see any reason to assume that IF skill would translate to good OF skill in the majors at age 29+.

Who said anything about "good". Hanley was awful. Most any IF, esp competent 2B/SS, can move to the OF and be at least competent there, at pretty much any age. (Exceptions for injuries of course.) Of course they are rarely asked to do so since they probably can't hit enough to play the OF and would almost certainly be more valuable at their IF position if they are still competent there. If their skills are sufficiently in decline that they can't field the IF position anymore then, sure, who knows how they'll do in the OF? For someone like Hanley who was a terrible SS and was getting old and had an injury history -- I'm not sure we'd have expected him to last past 32-33 anyway.

P-I turns up 92 expansion era players with at least 900 games at 2B or SS through age 29. (There's no way to find 900 at the combination that I'm aware of.) As you might expect, ranked by Rfield, at the top of the list, almost nobody was asked to move to the OF.

Knoblauch moved after he got the yips. Everything fell apart but Rfield puts him average for 1.5 years in LF.
Yount was injured and discussed above. An excellent SS, Rfield hates his OF defense from the start.
DeShields was a mediocre 2B who picked up some LF from age 31 on; Rfield puts him at average.
Desmond was below-average SS who is rated a bit below-average in the OF.
Dunston was a below-average SS who didn't start picking up OF time until 35 and is rated as average.

Of those 92 players, only 2 picked up 250+ games at an OF position -- Yount and Dunston.

Forgot Juan Samuel but he doesn't quite fit. A poor 2B he was moved early to CF only to be moved back to 2B then all over the place. He was a bench player by 31-32.

The only other one with even 50 games in the OF after 29 is Bill Russell. He played a good bit of OF very early and is rated quite highly, then he moved to SS for most of his career. At age 35, he started picking up some OF time again. Rtot puts him at -2 in about 500 innings in those years.

So Yount is really the only guy we can point to as a competent (or much better in his case) 2B/SS who transitioned poorly to the OF. But he's also the only one who still hit well enough to hold down an OF position.
   50. PreservedFish Posted: May 29, 2018 at 07:17 AM (#5681155)
I'm glad that Ray occasionally descends from the Mount Olympus of the politics thread to remind us that he still can't be trusted on the subject of baseball.
   51. Lassus Posted: May 29, 2018 at 08:53 AM (#5681164)
Ramirez was an epic Todd Hundley style disaster in LF, I would expect that essentially every player in baseball, at any age, would transition better than he did.

Someone has mercifully forgotten Daniel Murphy's time in LF.
   52. villageidiom Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5681169)
Where is the original Hanley signing thread from November 2014? I can't seem to find it.


Here you go. I assume you mean the thread with comments, instead of the thread with no comments, or the thread with one comment like "what we really need around here is another Hanley Ramirez thread".

   53. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:15 AM (#5681172)
Ray, a couple of threads from that time (there doesn't seem to be a dedicated Hanley thread);

Sandoval Agrees to Deal

Red Sox in talks to acquire Hanley

Should Red Sox Be afraid of Hanley being Hanley

None of these has a lot in the thread.
   54. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:18 AM (#5681175)
Damn you vi.
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:20 AM (#5681176)
I would expect that most would translate just as he did, and I said so at the time. That's my point; just because it's easier to find a good-hitting LF than a good-hitting SS that's no reason to assume that it's easy for MLB infielders to _move_ to the OF mid-career. The mistake people are making is that they're conflating two very different concepts.

What? You've got that completely reversed.

The fact that it's so much easier to find a good hitting LF means we SHOULD expect any good hitting MI to be able to transition. The reason it's so easy (relatively) to find good hitting LF, is because LF is so easy. Basically everyone with the athletic skills to be an above average major leaguer has the skills to play LF. And if you're a MI, that's even more true.
   56. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5681182)
Where is the original Hanley signing thread from November 2014? I can't seem to find it.

Here you go.

Here's my favorite comment from that thread:
If I could get Sale for Bogaerts and Betts, I wouldn't hesitate one moment.
   57. villageidiom Posted: May 29, 2018 at 09:49 AM (#5681189)
Damn you vi.
Normally I get damned on Monday mornings. Short work week!

Here's my favorite comment from that thread:
If I could get Sale for Bogaerts and Betts, I wouldn't hesitate one moment.
Later in the thread is this indirect response:
I think we have a consensus among Yankees fans that the Red Sox should give up Bogaerts and Betts for Sale. The real question is, should they also include Swihart, Owens, and Margot? I await your completely impartial opinions on this.
   58. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 29, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5681248)
Hmm, doesn't seem like it was an unreasonable statement at the time. He was a tremendous player -- even now he's at 38 WAR -- but he just couldn't stay at SS due to his bad defense. If his name was Jeter he'd have remained at the position. Jeter was just as bad there but stayed there because Yankee.

Well, Hanley has also stopped hitting. He looked like he might have a renaissance at the plate in LA but since coming to Boston he's put up a 103 OPS+ (88 this year), with what the advanced stats say is bad baserunning. Jeter put up a 120 OPS+ in 150+ games per year, with excellent baserunning, during those same ages (31-34). I'm sure the Red Sox would have been quite happy to get that type of performance out of Hanley at 1B.
   59. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: May 29, 2018 at 10:56 AM (#5681255)
Hanley's career trajectory is similar to Nomar's, actually. Except that Nomar was a much better fielder and what wrecked Nomar's career -- moreso than the oft-cited wrist injury -- was that he was traded for no apparent reason and then moved off the position for no apparent reason.

The wrist injury is only cited as having ruined his career by those who, like you, don't know what they're talking about. But at least those people are in the ballpark, as it clearly was an injury that did him in. The wrist diminished him as a hitter, but he was still an excellent player overall in '02-03. He then missed half of 2004 with an Achilles injury and was basically a bad player thereafter, largely on account of his defense cratering. "Moved off the position for no apparent reason." You're out of your mind.

I would expect that most would translate just as he did, and I said so at the time. That's my point; just because it's easier to find a good-hitting LF than a good-hitting SS that's no reason to assume that it's easy for MLB infielders to _move_ to the OF mid-career. The mistake people are making is that they're conflating two very different concepts.

You would expect that because you're a dolt. Virtually all outfielders are former infielders, Ray. And the population that switches after being in the majors for several years -- i.e., the ones you might have some awareness exist -- categorically do not struggle the way Ramirez did. The empirical evidence underlying the position adjustment in WAR is that players moving to the outfield improve their relative performance. Ramirez is nearly unique among professionals in his inability to track a fly ball.
   60. jmurph Posted: May 29, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5681266)
Ramirez is nearly unique among professionals in his inability to track a fly ball.

Line drives, too. He was hopeless out there, had no idea where the ball was going.
   61. jmurph Posted: May 29, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5681267)
Except that Nomar was a much better fielder and what wrecked Nomar's career -- moreso than the oft-cited wrist injury -- was that he was traded for no apparent reason and then moved off the position for no apparent reason.

This is a wild description of late career Nomar. Wild.
   62. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 29, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5681286)
The reason it's so easy (relatively) to find good hitting LF, is because LF is so easy. Basically everyone with the athletic skills to be an above average major leaguer has the skills to play LF. And if you're a MI, that's even more true.


Not entirely. It's not so much that LF is easy, it's that the cost of weak defense is smaller there.

LF offers two advantages over the other outfield positions which make it easier to place a poor defender there - there is less ground to cover, and the throws back to the infield are generally shorter. For those reasons, you can get away with putting a player out there (in most ballparks) who doesn't run very well and who doesn't have a great arm, because there aren't as many plays out there where a bad defender will cost you.

That doesn't make LF easy to play. And Fenway, because of the Monster, offers the LF a set of challenges that other ballparks don't - the LF is forced to play closer to the infield and to take different (and IMO less optimal) routes on balls hit to the gap. Combine that with learning reads and jumps in the first place and I wouldn't expect that to be easy for anyone.

-- MWE

   63. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 29, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5681296)
For all the talking about the Monster the play that left fielders mess up a LOT at Fenway is the flyball into the corner. I don't know if it's the winds or depth perception or what but the number of times a player overruns a ball in the corner and it lands in fair territory behind him is sizable. It's a play that doesn't seem to happen anywhere else (at least that I see) but it is not entirely uncommon at Fenway.
   64. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 29, 2018 at 12:05 PM (#5681331)
"Geez, he makes Manny look like Yaz out there" says it all. Just about every Red Sox fan I know uttered some version of that phrase about Hanley, often with epithets added, and in an incredulous tone. Was he any better on the road? Seems like some of it had to be mental, trying to play in a state of near panic because he wasn't comfortable and never getting better because you can't play that way. The outfielder's version of Chuck Knobluch syndrome, but not limited to throwing.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 29, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5681382)
Here's my favorite comment from that thread:

If I could get Sale for Bogaerts and Betts, I wouldn't hesitate one moment.

Later in the thread is this indirect response: (from Darren)
I think we have a consensus among Yankees fans that the Red Sox should give up Bogaerts and Betts for Sale. The real question is, should they also include Swihart, Owens, and Margot? I await your completely impartial opinions on this.

So if Sale and Mookie were caught in a raging fire, and you could only rescue one of them, which one would you rescue?
   66. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 29, 2018 at 12:50 PM (#5681384)
Virtually all outfielders are former infielders, Ray.
My favorite illustration of this point came from Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post talking to members of the Nationals:

"Everybody in this damn room played shortstop, and everybody in this room pitched," Dunn said. [...]

Anyhow, I didn't find a single member of the team who hadn't been a shortstop growing up.

"I was kind of in-between a Barry Larkin and an Ozzie Smith of Little League," Jason Bergmann said. "They realized my potential wasn't as a hitter, so all that talent went right out the window."

"Unbelievable," Collin Balester said of his shortstop skills. "Guzman-type. I was pretty good, not gonna lie."

"All-state shortstop buddy," Craig Stammen said. "I was way better at shortstop than I was at pitching in high school."

"Absolutely," Josh Willingham said. "The best athlete played shortstop. Did you play short?"

I said I did, which was actually true.

"Then your team had to suck," Dunn pointed out, which was also true.
   67. BDC Posted: May 29, 2018 at 01:17 PM (#5681396)
Highly anecdotal, but in the past couple of years the entire Ranger outfield, at times, has been made up of former infielders who had moved pretty recently. Drew Robinson came up as an infielder, so did Delino DeShields (Jr.); Jurickson Profar played OF some; Desmond was mentioned; more recently they've moved Joey Gallo to LF, they're doing that with Willie Calhoun at AAA. LH throwers do it too; Mitch Moreland used to trot out to RF at times.

Of course most of these guys are mediocre or below at any position, but it just shows the commonness of the move. In particular, in recent years, teams' bench infielders are more and more on call as fifth outfielders.
   68. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 29, 2018 at 02:22 PM (#5681463)

Someone has mercifully forgotten Daniel Murphy's time in LF.

Two words: Lucas Duda.
   69. Hysterical & Useless Posted: May 29, 2018 at 02:59 PM (#5681523)
"Everybody in this damn room played shortstop,


I had a pretty good glove, but not a very strong arm, so I played 2nd base. Oh, and I couldn't hit, so I didn't even play 2nd after about the age of 10.
   70. villageidiom Posted: May 29, 2018 at 03:32 PM (#5681568)
So if Sale and Mookie were caught in a raging fire, and you could only rescue one of them, which one would you rescue?
Which one of them has my car keys?
   71. John DiFool2 Posted: May 29, 2018 at 06:29 PM (#5681720)
A physically gifted LH thrower will be in center in Little League/high school.
   72. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: May 29, 2018 at 07:38 PM (#5681758)
High school yes, little league absolutely not. Plenty of southpaws play shortstop or catcher in little league.

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