As the Red Sox examine what should be done in the offseason, Hanley Ramirez’s contract keeps coming up. The mercurial slugger, whose Major League career came full circle when he returned to Boston as a free agent in Nov. 2014, has been mentioned in trade rumors.
His potential trade value (and the desire of the Red Sox to move him) was recently brought up by NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich:
There have been rumblings that the Red Sox want to trade Hanley Ramirez, would eat some 2018 money, but can’t find a suitor. That plate appearance clause that kicks in for 2019 makes it very tough. https://t.co/xFj5NY2ghY
— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) December 18, 2017
And as Drellich pointed out, there is a particular clause in Ramirez’s contract that would trigger a fifth year at his current salary ($22 million).
The vesting option is this: If Ramirez totals 1,050 plate appearances combined in 2017 and 2018 (the third and fourth years of his current deal), he automatically gets another year in his contract for 2019.
Hanley breakdown: 19M in 2015, 22M 2016, '17 and '18. 2019 22M option vests with 1050 plate appearances in 2017 and '18 3M bonus
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 25, 2014
In 2017, Ramirez had 553 plate appearances, meaning he needs 497 in 2018 to trigger the option for 2019. Admittedly, this isn’t a guarantee. Aside from any assumptions about his level of play next season, Ramirez has reached 497 plate appearances in three of the past five seasons.
This could add just enough uncertainty in a potential trade partner’s mind about Ramirez’s status that they might not want to make a deal. Also, some teams might not want to have Hanley for two years instead of just one. Complications aren’t conducive to trades.
So as Boston continues to explore its options in the offseason, concerns such as Ramirez’s plate appearances in 2018 are just one of the many things that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has to consider.