For the second time in three years, Hanley Ramirez graded out as a below-replacement-level real-life player (as measured by fWAR), and his fantasy utility took a hit as well in his age-33 season. His run and RBI totals fell off a cliff, the latter of which was due in large part to a .209/.317/.317 line in 161 plate appearances with runners in scoring position (down from .294/.404/.551 in 2016). It wasn't just in those situations where Ramirez's performance slipped -- his overall OBP fell 41 points and his wOBA fell 49 points -- but the Statcast data points to a significant amount of bad luck (.262 xBA, .351 xwOBA, .479 xSLG). While Ramirez posted a dismal .179/.293/.387 line against lefties, it was a relatively small sample (106 at-bats). His career track record against southpaws is excellent (.295/.376/.521). He's UTIL-only now in most formats, but Ramirez has real bounce-back potential, assuming he can avoid the nagging injuries.
Ramirez (shoulder) will likely be limited to a part-time role this season following the acquisition of J.D. Martinez, Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports. With Martinez expected to take over as the team's primary designated hitter, Ramirez will likely be pushed into a platoon with Mitch Moreland at first base. The 34-year-old could also see occasional starts at DH when Martinez requires a breather, but even with that being the case, his plate appearances should still take a noteworthy hit. Ramirez's exact role, and how much it will be reduced in 2018, should clear up as the season draws closer. He hit just .242/320/.429 with 23 homers in 133 games last season.
Ramirez (shoulder) might have a part-time role this season, serving as a platoon first baseman and occasional designated hitter, Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald reports. The main factor that could lead to a reduced role is Boston's rumored interest in free agent J.D. Martinez. If he's brought on board, Martinez becomes the middle-of-the-order bat the Red Sox need, while serving as the primary designated hitter. That scenario marginalizes Ramirez's opportunities. Absent a Martinez acquisition, the organization has a reason to limit Ramirez in 2018. A vesting option for 2019, valued at $22 million, kicks in should Ramirez reach a threshold of plate appearances. For that option to vest, he needs to get 497 plate appearances in 2018.
Ramirez (shoulder) has already begun throwing following surgery in mid-October, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. Ramirez continues to work his way back from a minor procedure that repaired his left shoulder after playing through shoulder issues throughout the 2017 season. The 34-year-old should be at full health heading into spring training, barring any setbacks.
Ramirez will be physically able to play first base in 2018 after undergoing shoulder surgery in October, Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com reports. This would come into play if the Red Sox signed someone like J.D. Martinez, who would be better suited for DH, but if they sign a true first baseman like Eric Hosmer, Ramirez would get the bulk of his at-bats at DH. More important than where he plays is how he hits, as he is coming off a year where he was a below league average hitter (93 wRC+). Entering his age-34 season, it's risky to buy into a bounce back. He is expected to be ready for the season after undergoing successful surgery on his left shoulder.
Ramirez is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018 season after successfully undergoing surgery on his left shoulder Tuesday, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. This is encouraging news, as it appears Ramirez's surprise shoulder surgery was a minor procedure. Shoulder issues plagued him all season, resulting in a disappointing 2017 campaign that saw him hit an unremarkable .242/.320/.429 with 23 homers in 133 games. The hope is that a fully healthy Ramirez will get back on track in 2018.