There was great buzz heading into the 2018 MLB season that this was the year Hanley Ramirez would finally put it all together, and that he would become something of a combo of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez – a fun-loving clubhouse leader who battered the Green Monster and dropped bombs on Lansdowne Street.
Today – not even halfway through the season – Ramirez is without a job in baseball, and he could soon be behind bars.
The 34-year-old Dominican is reportedly under federal and state investigation in connection with a drug probe.
Here is the backstory.
In late April, nearly 45 people were arrested in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for allegedly taking part in fentanyl trafficking. On May 30 in Lawrence, a man named Delcio Rodriguez was pulled over by police and a large box was found in the backseat. According to ABC News’ Michele McPhee, Rodriguez did not allow police to look in the box. Rodriguez then “FaceTimed” Ramirez and said the box belonged to him.
UPDATE: The Boston Globe reported Sunday that Rodriguez, a friend of Ramirez’s from the Dominican Republic, only name dropped and FaceTimed Ramirez in order to try and get out of the situation. It’s important to note here that John W. Henry owns both the Red Sox and The Boston Globe.
The Red Sox had somewhat stunningly designated Ramirez for assignment five days before the traffic stop but they flat-out released him two days after the stop.
“After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs,” McPhee told 98.5 The Sports Hub. “And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and he then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”
Ramirez’s agent says that Ramirez “has no knowledge of any of the allegations,” and the Red Sox maintain that they released Ramirez strictly for “baseball reasons.”
“[I’m] surprised,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said about the Ramirez situation. “But I heard it, I read it, I guess people are going to ask me about it and the only thing – the organization didn’t know about this and I didn’t know about this. Our decision [to release him] was made basically on baseball, baseball-related. I hope it’s not true.”
Ramirez had a .311 batting average as recently as May 2 and was continually hitting out of the three-hole for the Red Sox early in the season. He went hitless from May 18 to May 24 and the Red Sox then designated him for assignment.