It’s difficult to say that any MLB franchise coming off a 71-win season is “loaded” in certain key areas, but the Red Sox currently have too many chefs in their positional kitchen.
Boston reportedly agreed to deals with free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval and free agent infielder Hanley Ramirez Monday. While it’s a sure thing that Sandoval will stay put at third base, the Sox may opt to move Ramirez to the outfield. The former prized Red Sox farmhand has primarily played shortstop in his MLB career with the Marlins and Dodgers. This would be the path of least resistance, but Boston could also opt to trade current shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
One way or another, the Red Sox will have to move on from someone who occupied a spot on the left side of their infield or a spot in the outfield in 2014.
Rusney Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts and Allen Craig are all candidates for outfield spots next season. There have been whispers earlier this off-season that the Sox could move on from Cespedes after employing him for just four months. Cespedes belted 22 homers and drove in 100 runs in 152 games split between Oakland and Boston this past season.
Not only do the signings of Sandoval and Ramirez mean that the Sox now have less money to throw at Jon Lester, there is the possibility that Lester will be turned off by the moves. A 2010 USA Today piece titled, “Jon Lester either hates pizza or dislikes Hanley Ramirez” quoted Lester as saying that he doesn’t plan on dining with Ramirez anytime soon. Lester was asked by a reporter if he had ever gone out for pizza with Ramirez in the minor leagues when they were teammates and the lefty gave a curious answer.
“I’d have a better chance of being struck by lightning than me and him getting a slice of pizza together,” Lester told USA Today. “You can take that for what it’s worth. But there was no chance on God’s green earth that I was getting a pizza with him.