The Boston Red Sox reportedly have come to terms with Hanley Ramirez on what is expected to be in the range of a five-year, $90 million agreement, FoxSports.com reported Sunday.
Ramirez was set to arrive in Boston on Monday to finalize terms of the deal, according to the report.
One major league source however, told ESPN that the deal between the Red Sox and Ramirez is not finalized and is for greater than the five-year, $90 million deal that’s been reported.
Another source told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that Ramirez was “close” to a deal with Boston.
Adam Katz, Ramirez’s agent, declined comment Sunday night, and numerous Red Sox officials did not respond to requests seeking confirmation. Ramirez, who turns 31 on Dec. 23, has primarily played shortstop through the course of his 10-year career but has also told teams he would be willing to make a position change.
Ramirez originally projected as a fallback plan for the Red Sox, in the event they were unable to sign the switch-hitting Pablo Sandoval, who reached an agreement with the Red Sox Monday, sources told ESPN, after choosing among offers from the Red Sox, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres. All three offers were believed to be for five years and at least $90 million.
Previous reports had suggested the Seattle Mariners, among other clubs, also expressed interest in Ramirez, 30, who batted .283 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs the past season.
Ramirez, who rejected the Los Angeles Dodgers’ $15.3 million qualifying offer earlier this month and became a free agent, will certainly be appealing to teams who survey a thin market for hitters. Ramirez won the 2009 batting title and led the NL with a 1.040 OPS in 2013 (among hitters with at least 300 plate appearances).
Ramirez’s defense at shortstop has suffered in recent years, which makes it highly implausible the Sox would give up on 22-year-old shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is regarded as highly as Ramirez was after he signed with the Red Sox in 2000, as a teenager in the Dominican Republic.
The Red Sox already have a logjam in the outfield, though, with potential starters in Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino and even Allen Craig, with Jackie Bradley Jr. potentially in reserve. The signing of Ramirez to play the outfield would suggest the Sox are making plans to trade an outfielder, with Cespedes, who is a year from free agency, a leading candidate.
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