MLB Player News
Hanley Ramirez told ESPN Deportes that he plans to play winter ball for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Republic, WEEI.com reports.
Ramirez, who will be moved from left field to first base in 2016, said he'll get a jump on the new position, but will mainly serve as a designated hitter for Licey. Meanwhile, Boston general manager Dave Dombrowski said there's no plan in place for Ramirez to play this winter and that the ESPN Deportes report is only a rumor.
Rusney Castillo projects to open 2016 as Boston's starting left fielder, MLB.com reports.
Manager John Farrell indicated Castillo will be in left with Mookie Betts in right, flanking Jackie Bradley in center. Castillo signed a record-breaking $72 million contract in August of 2014, but an oblique injury and Betts' emergence pushed him to Triple-A to start 2015. He eventually came up to hit just .252/.288/.359 in 80 games with the Boston Red Sox , with a .225/.263/.292 line in September. Chances are, Castillo will have to swing his way out of a bottom-third spot in the batting order.
Mookie Betts projects to open 2016 as Boston's starting right fielder, MLB.com reports.
The Boston Red Sox seemed pleased with Betts' progress in center last season, but Jackie Bradley is clearly the best defensive outfielder on the team. Bradley is expected to take over in center and push Betts to right, with Rusney Castillo set to start the year in left field. This news does not affect Betts' fantasy outlook for 2016, as his playing time and spot atop the order should be secure no matter where he plays in the outfield.
The Boston Red Sox are leaning toward going with Jackie Bradley as their primary center fielder in 2016, MLB.com reports.
Mookie Betts got better as the season progressed and proved to be a capable center fielder in 2015, but manager John Farrell rightfully acknowledged that Bradley "is the best defensive outfielder" on the team. Betts is expected to move to right, but of course, Bradley will need to continue to hit to maintain a starting role throughout the year. The 25-year-old surprised a lot of people in that regard last season, batting .249/.335/.498 with 10 homers in 74 games with Boston.
Ryan Braun is progressing well from offseason back surgery, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. "I feel pretty good, knock on wood," Braun said Wednesday. "The only surprise is the rehab is a little longer than I was anticipating, just a couple months of rehab. Other than that, everything was as expected."
Although the initial recovery timetable is out the window, Braun remains optimistic that his offseason program will not be impacted and he will be back at 100 percent for spring training. The 32-year-old is doing physical therapy four days a week for the back, and he said there are no plans at this point for him to undergo another cryotherapy procedure on his thumb. The five-year, $105 million extension Braun signed in 2011 kicks in this season.
Michael Choice was designated for assignment Wednesday, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports.
The Cleveland Indians acquired the former 10th overall pick from the Rangers in August and quickly opted to jettison him off their 40-man roster after acquiring Kirby Yates on Wednesday. Choice recorded a .239/.308/.393 slash line to go along with 13 home runs and 67 RBI with two different Triple-A affiliations in 2015, so it seems likely the Indians would like to see the 26-year-old remain with the organization if he passes through waivers unclaimed.
L.J. Hoes was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for cash considerations on Wednesday, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports.
Hoes was DFA'd by the Astros in November, despite a fairly strong year at Triple-A Fresno, where he hit .295/.383/.400 with 26 seals. The 25-year-old has appeared in 112 major league games, and while he's yet to prove he's an everyday outfielder, he's been effective enough to warrant spot starts off the bench.
Matt Tuiasosopo signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves that includes an invitation to attend spring training.
Tuiasosopo spent 2015 in the White Sox organization with Triple-A Charlotte. He showed a good ability to play corner infield and outfield positions, and put up a solid .791 OPS with 18 homers and 52 RBI, although he did strike out a whopping 29.1% percent of the time. The Braves have a lot of options at the corner infield and outfield spots, so it'll be tough for Tuiasosopo to be more than organizational depth.
Logan Schafer signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals that includes an invitation to spring training, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports.
Schafer appeared in 69 games for Milwaukee last season, recording a .221/.299/.311 slash line to go along with one home in 122 at-bats (he has hit just five homers in his major league career). The 29-year-old has never been known for his offensive, but he can play every outfield spot, making him a potentially useful bench player for Washington in 2016.
Danny Ortiz signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, Brandon Warne of Cold Omaha 96.3 reports.
Ortiz will likely start the 2016 season in the Pirates' minor league system, and there is a decent chance he doesn't leave the minors at all. He has yet to make a major league appearance and was signed by Pittsburgh after spending his career in the Twins' organization.