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Hanley Exits Stage Right

Hanley Ramirez has been released by the Red Sox.  With Pedey coming back, this had occurred to me as an option but a very unlikely one.  It seemed like having three catchers was a luxury they couldn't afford, or they'd send Brock Holt down temporarily or put Nunez on the DL just because he really is always injured so why not.

In the end though, they realized keeping Hanley didn't make sense.  If he came out of his slump, you're likely going to get stuck with him for next year or have a conflict with him and the fans when you bench a productive player.  But it was more likely he'd have good moments but never be all that good.  He's been terrible for about 3 weeks now.  Cutting bait with Hanley means you have more money for next year (Kimbrel & Mookie perhaps), you don't have the headache of however he's going to act if/when you bench him, and you keep other options on your roster.  As for the money, you're already spending it either way so don't make a now decision based on that (there's been a sunk cost fallacy sighting (citing?), boys!)



Looking ahead, it'll be very interesting to see what the Sox do with the extra at bats.  Clearly, Mitchy "Two Bags" Moreland will - deservedly - get most of them.  We all know he's a far superior defensive player than Hanley.  He is also a better hitter.  Last year he was hurt and still was a slightly better hitter than Hanley.  This year it's not even close.

The lineup will now be Betts, Benny, Martinez, Bogaerts, Moreland, Pedey, Devers, Vazquez, JBJ.  But the real question comes when one of those guys goes down.  

We should expect the Sox to bring Swihart into a rotation to get him a couple starts a week.  He can play first and he can play outfield.  In addition, JD likes playing the field so when he does, they can put Swihart at DH.  That said, I think they will also DH Pedroia some if he's hitting ok.  I will also say again that the idea that they have not let Swihart play a single inning at 3B or 2B really makes me question the honesty of their professed "super utility" plan.

Let's also not forget Sam Travis is back in the lineup in Pawtucket.  He's been slow since returning to from the DL, but if he gets hot he could compete for at bats in Boston now - especially if Swihart just can't lock down a roll.  In addition, top hitting prospect Michael Chavis could still be a factor at 1B/DH by the end of the year.  He's in the middle of an 80 game suspension - quite literally as the PawSox have played 43 games.  He'd presumably start from near zero when he comes back, but it's not inconceivable that he goes to Ft. Myers in July, then Pawtucket where he has a hot August and comes to Fenway.  Also, in a pinch, the Sox could let aging former top prospect Mike Ott play some (then releasing him, as is the plight of such a player). He's hitting well in AAA.

The big question is: what would they do if Moreland went down for more than a couple days?  We know he'd likely fight through anything as long as he could and as long as Cora let him, but as we saw last year, that is not good for him or the team.  At this point, it would likely be Travis and Swihart - and maybe Eduardo Nunez - filling in if Two Bags went on the DL.  But if it were anything serious, they'd have to go shopping.  That's the risk you take, but a smart risk at this point.


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