With David Oritz set to retire and open up the designated hitter spot for the Boston Red Sox at the end of the 2016 season, it might seem like Hanley Ramirez playing first base will be a one-year deal. Just don’t tell him that.
When asked about the possibility of taking over the DH spot in 2017, Ramirez balked:
“What if I win a Gold Glove, what is going to happen next year? It’s too far away. I don’t make those decisions. I have a boss,” via Rob Bradford, WEEI.
There is one positive way to look at this, as well as one negative way, which is what we’ll start with.
Ramirez has never been a Gold Glove fielder at any position. He’s not only 32 this season, but he is also playing a completely new position. There’s no way to expect that Hanley will be anything close to a Gold Glove-caliber fielder.
If the Red Sox and their fans are being realistic, the best hope is that Ramirez can play a serviceable first base in 2016 in which he doesn’t cost the team.
Fortunately for the Red Sox and their fans, the negative spin does not outweigh the positive.
The positive spin is not just an optimistic way to view Hanley’s words, but also the correct way. Like it or not, he’s going to see a lot of time at first base in 2016. If he acknowledged that he was already looking ahead to 2017 when Ortiz would be gone and the DH spot would be open, it would be an early sign that 2016 is going to be a very long season.
If he’s talking about winning a Gold Glove, even if it’s not a realistic hope, then it’s a sign that Hanley wants to put the necessary work in to be a good first baseman for the Red Sox.
So, while talk about a Gold Glove isn’t anything that anyone should be taking seriously, the fact that Hanley Ramirez reported to camp early, is putting the work in to get better and is not looking forward to being a DH is a great sign for Boston.