At first glance the idea that the Baltimore Orioles would sign Hanley Ramirez seems strange. In actuality, it would be a shrewd acquisition for the O’s.
Most people assumed that only legitimate contenders would entertain the notion of signing Hanley Ramirez. The Baltimore Orioles certainly don’t qualify. They would still be smart to acquire the former Red Sox infielder for a short-term boost.
Various reports claim that Orioles general manager Dan Duquette claims signing Ramirez is “under consideration.” He’d certainly represent a low-risk move for the O’s. Since he’s already cleared waivers he can be signed for the minimum.
The obvious question is why the Orioles, with a record of 17-41, would make a move for a veteran player at this point in the season. It’s not as if Ramirez is going to suddenly morph them into a playoff contender. Yes, he’d be a massive improvement over Chris Davis at first base, but even replacing a hitter with a .152 batting average with a decent regular isn’t going to shoot Baltimore to the top of the American League East standings.
Baltimore’s intention shouldn’t be to sign Ramirez to keep him for the rest of the season or beyond. Instead, Duquette’s plan should be to sign Ramirez now only to showcase him for a few more weeks. Then, the Orioles can try to deal Ramirez on his minimum salary. They’d find much more interested suitors than the Red Sox did when he was in the midst of his massive deal with them.
It’s very similar to what most people believe the Reds will do with Matt Harvey. They acquired the pitcher from New York in a low-risk trade. Like the Orioles, the Reds find themselves in the cellar of their division. If Harvey is able to string a few decent starts together the Reds will attempt to flip him for an asset who can help brighten their future.
The Orioles would theoretically be acquiring a superior asset. The Red Sox let Ramirez go because of financial concerns. They simply didn’t believe a player having such a neutral impact on winning was worth such a massive amount of cash. He was nowhere near the disaster on the field Harvey was for the Mets.
If the Baltimore Orioles acquire Hanley Ramirez to jumpstart their season it will be a massive mistake. If, on the other hand, they sign him to flip him for an asset down the line, it will be a good piece of business by the AL East club.