Following the Boston Red Sox’s unexpected DFA of Hanley Ramirez Friday morning, Dave Dombrowski revealed in a news conference that it was manager Alex Cora who called for the move.
According to Dombrowski, the team’s president of baseball operations, he was prepared to explore alternative options, but Cora was sure about the decision. He added that Cora advocated for more playing time for first baseman Mitch Moreland, and did not think Ramirez would be successful coming off the bench.
Dombrowski addressed the media at Fenway Park Friday afternoon:
Dave Dombrowski talking about how Alex Cora was involved in the decision to DFA Hanley Ramirez pic.twitter.com/DzYMqMCuqT
— The Camera Guys (@NBCSCameraGuys) May 25, 2018
“[Cora] said, ‘This is something I’d recommend doing.’ And I said, ‘You sure?’ And he said, ‘Yeah,’ and went through some different reasons why,” Dombrowski explained. Dombrowski then asked Cora to meet with his coaching staff to make the final decision, which he did.
No matter who made the decision, somehow, room had to be made for Dustin Pedroia to come off of the disabled list.
The move was particularly surprising because Ramirez hadn’t played that poorly this year. He was healthy, and put up a .254/.313/.395 slash line as a first baseman and designated hitter. However, recently, he was in a 0-for-20 rut and was hitting .163/.200/.300 in the month of May. As Cora is said to have pointed out, Ramirez was not the absolute best option at first base.
Of note is that Ramirez still has one more guaranteed year on his contract. He is in the final year of a 4-year, $88 million contract. Thus, the Red Sox will owe him $15 million no matter where he ends up this year. If he does sign with another team, that team would only owe him the league minimum of $545,000.
Perhaps more importantly when it came to the DFA is that the team avoids an expensive fifth-year vesting option. If Ramirez had reached 1,050 plate appearances during the 2017 and 2018 seasons combined, the team would owe him an additional $22 million for 2019. He needed only 497 more plate appearances to trigger that option.
We may never know for sure whether Cora’s reasoning took precedent over the financial ones, but either way, Dombrowski pardoned himself from the ordeal.
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