Former All-Star Hanley Ramirez designated for assignment by Red Sox

In order to open up a roster spot for the return of All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia on Friday, the Boston Red Sox surprised many with plans to designate for assignment former All-Star hitter Hanley Ramirez.

According to The Boston Globe, the Red Sox decision leaves the organization on the hook for the remainder of the $15 million from the original four-year, $88 million deal he signed for in the 2014 offseason.

More importantly for Boston, the decision to part ways with Ramirez guarantees Ramirez’s $22M vesting option for the 2019 season will not be exercised given he won’t reach the 1,050 plate appearances combined between the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

A three-time All-Star, the veteran will clear waivers and immediately become a free agent with his choice of where to sign.

While his defensive limitations will likely push him to sign with an American League club to serve as a designated hitter, the 34-year-old played 25 games at first base this season. Perhaps that could leave the door open for a National League team to look into him.

Ramirez has hit just six home runs with a .254/.313/.395 slash line this season, but drove in 29 runs in 44 games for Boston. He is still capable of hitting 20-plus home runs a year and given his experience and name recognition, he will draw interest.

The Red Sox have now DFAd both Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, their two major signings of the 2014 offseason who they awarded a combined $183 million to.

Boston is now playing two players $30-plus million to play for different, while it also pays Mitch Moreland to be the everyday first baseman for the foreseeable future.