Friday, February 12, 2016

The Hanley Project: How Much Can We Really Expect?

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press

Hanley Ramirez came to the Red Sox last season on a four year, $88 million contract to add some more power to the Sox lineup. With already having signed Pablo Sandoval earlier that morning, Hanley wouldn’t be playing third base. Xander Bogaerts will be manning shortstop for a long time. That’s all Hanley had played up until then in his career with any consistency, coming up as a shortstop through the Red Sox farm system.

The first part of the experiment, as you know, failed. Hanley proved to be an utterly awful left fielder. He finished with negative fielding numbers in pretty much every defensive statistic available on baseball-reference.com. Every ball that was hit his way had me worrying.

 So with a four year contract and little to no trade value, Hanley has to play somewhere, so they’ll try to move him to first base.

Hanley looked stiff, not all that athletic and a bit overweight last season. He already sounds like a first baseman to me. I have some high hopes for him over there, but I honestly don’t see it starting out all that smooth. There will be some growing pains. 

Now there is some upside to having Hanley over at first. It will fill that hole in the infield and opens up a spot in the Sox crowded outfield. 

 And who knows, Hanley could even turn out to be a pretty good first baseman with some dedication and hard work, which we didn’t see last season in left field. 

He’s also a decent hitter, in case you forgot.