(Photo courtesy of CBSSports.com)
The Boston Red Sox have now spent, according to Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports, close to $180 million on Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. At 5 years, $95 million, with a team option for a sixth year, Pablo adds a much needed left handed bat into the Red Sox lineup, as well as adding third base production, which has been lacking since Adrian Beltre left for the Texas Rangers in 2011. Although his weight has always been a concern, the Red Sox thought process is that he will be able to push himself away from the table for the next 5 years. Sandoval is able to give the Red Sox a unique combination of line drive power and opposite field hitting, which will compliment veteran players such as David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
Hanley Ramirez is a completely different kind of player. Since being traded away from the team in 2005 for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, Ramirez won the NL Rookie of Year in 2006, the batting title in 2009, and was an All Star from 2008 to 2010. However, since 2011, Ramirez has been plagued by injuries and off field issues. When on the field, Ramirez is one of the most skilled pure hitters in baseball. The only problem is keeping Ramirez on the field for one reason or another. At 4 years, $88 million, with a vesting option for a fifth year, it looks like the Red Sox have trust in their prior top prospect. It is unsure where Ramirez will play, but many have pointed to left field with the continuing trade rumors of Yoenis Cespedes. However, according to multiple reports, the Red Sox may be looking to trade their top prospect SS Xander Bogaerts for more starting pitching. In any case, Ramirez's willingness to change positions shows us his commitment to Boston.
(Photo courtesy of Boston.com)
Then there is Jon Lester. The 57th overall draft pick for the Red Sox in the 2002 MLB Draft spent 12 years in the Red Sox organization and won 2 World Series with the big team. In Spring Training, the Red Sox were reportedly offering Lester 4 years, $70 million, which, for one of the best left handed pitchers in the league, is laughable. Upon being unable to agree on a deal, the Sox ace was traded away at the 2014 Trade Deadline for Yoenis Cespedes. There was always a sneaking suspicion however that the Red Sox would make a push to bring Lester back in the offseason.
The offseason is here and the offers are rolling in for Lester. According to Jake Wesley (@mlb_nl_al), the 14 year old phenom who first reported the Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval signings, the time is now for the Red Sox. The Red Sox have upped their 6/$120 million offer to 6/$130 million and that they have set a deadline of Wednesday for Lester to make his decision. It is believed that multiple other teams, including the Cubs, have offered more money to Lester. But it has never been about money to Lester. The prospect of being comfortable and in a winning environment is what is most important to the lefty ace, and where would he feel more comfortable than in the place where it all began?
So to Red Sox brass, please do not play short money with one of your own. If you're willing to pay Hanley Ramirez $22 million per year, offer Lester the same, if not more. Lester is willing to take less money to be here, but wants to be paid what he deserves.
by Pete Packowski @BiasedSports