What started as something of a crazy rumor yesterday has escalated quickly into a thing that is apparently happening.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Red Sox are finalizing a deal today with free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez for five years and $90 million. Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox are also going to sign Pablo Sandoval for five years and just under $100 million.
It’s pretty crazy to think about how quickly these dual deals came together, and we’ll see if anything falls apart at the last minute.
Assuming it doesn’t, there’s a whole lot to process here. And a whole lot of dust to settle.
For example …
- Do the signings make the Red Sox all the more attractive to Jon Lester? Will the Red Sox then hold the line on their undermarket six-year, $110 to $120 million offer to Lester, hoping that the good feelings and the good team make the difference? Or will the Red Sox go nuts and make sure they land Lester, completing a trio of very expensive additions?
- Who plays where? Long-term, each of Ramirez and Sandoval could wind up a part-time DH as David Ortiz ages, but, for now, it’s a weird mix. Top youngster Xander Bogaerts could be without a place to play if Sandoval heads to third (as expected) and Ramirez plays shortstop. Would Bogaerts now be trade bait after a year of big league struggles? At this point last year, Bogaerts was as untouchable as they come. Now folks are going to speculate that he’ll be made available to the Phillies in a Cole Hamels deal (but, unless the Phillies eat a ton of salary, I wouldn’t touch that trade if I were the Red Sox).
- Alternatively, and more likely, will Ramirez head to the outfield? If so, the Red Sox have one of the gluttiest outfields I’ve ever seen: Ramirez, Rusney Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, Mookie Betts, Brock Holt and Daniel Nava. Sure, the latter two can fill bench jobs, but the other guys are starters. That’s six guys for three spots. You’ve got to figure that Cespedes is now a lock to be traded, and one of Victorino and Craig, too. Cespedes isn’t all that attractive for the Cubs, in my opinion, because his unique contract makes it so you can’t offer him a qualifying offer after the season. Victorino as a vet leader type, though? Craig as a bounceback gamble? I actually am intrigued.
- With two of the top bats on the market going to the same team, how much more aggressively do the losing suitors scramble to pick up a bat? Chase Headley has to be loving this news. And, not that I’m at all advocating shopping him, but Luis Valbuena’s value probably just ticked up a bit, too.
- Do the Yankees respond aggressively? Maybe they finally get seriously involved with the top-end of the pitching market now. And what about the rest of the AL East? These twin moves dramatically improve the Red Sox, and the other teams can’t sit still.
In any case, there is going to be fallout from there. Probably wide-reaching, and probably in ways that we’re not yet aware.
UPDATE: Obligatory drama – Rosenthal and Chris Cotillo are saying on Twitter that they’ve heard Panda hasn’t decided yet where to sign. Neither is saying Heyman is wrong, however, just that they haven’t yet heard it’s a deal that’s going to happen.
UPDATE 2: More specifics:
Gustavo Vasquez, agent for Pablo Sandoval, says his client is still weighing offers but no deal yet.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) November 24, 2014
So we’ll see …