Following Hanley’s release, the next logical question is, “Where is he going?” The Red Sox are not going to be able to trade him due to the vesting option and other teams knowing they have a chance to just sign him (in which case the vesting option disappears). Why give up anything and risk it?
My first thought was AL contenders. Yankees? Indians? Astros?
However, Hanley doesn’t fit with the Yanks. They have enough DH’s (Stanton, Judge, Sanchez) and I’m sure they’d rather keep Austin in the lineup against lefties and use the DH to give their big guns some days off the field. The Indians have Yonder Alonso and Encarnacion at 1B/DH and I’m not sure who you replace in the depth chart with Ramirez that makes the team better. The Astros have Gurriel/Gonzalez/Gattis at DH/1B and they use Springer as a DH sometimes too.
So then I started moving down the list to middle of the pack teams and teams that might have open at bats.
The “other guys”?
The Angels have Pujols/Ohtani at the DH and Pujols/Valbuena at 1B. While Ramirez does represent an offensive upgrade over Valbuena, Valbuena is a lefty and also can play some 3B. While the Rangers might make some sense, Guzman, Gallo, Rua & Choo could probably find Ramirez some at bats, I’m not sure it’s an “upgrade.” If they can get him AB’s and Ramirez catches fire as he did in March/April, the Rangers could potentially find a sucker to give them something back for him.
Hicks and Goodrum have been doing well for the Tigers and while Ramirez represents a definite upgrade over Victor Martinez, I’m not sure he represents what the Tigers want or need right now.
This is the type of time Billy Beane of the A’s likes to jump in and swipe up a veteran with some potential to flip at the deadline to a desperate fool. Ramirez is a fit there, with Matt Joyce representing the primary DH option doing even worse than Hanley is.
The Twins could sign him as well. While Morrison has gotten into more of a groove at the plate, Robbie Grossman has not and Mauer is out for now. Ramirez represents a definite upgrade.
Kansas City is also not getting much out of Hunter Dozier, so they make some sense as well.
So where’s he going?
I would doubt that any NL team would sign him as anything more than some power off the bench. It could be a little time off the field for Ramirez before he finds a suitor if he’s looking for a gig with guaranteed playing time. Regardless, Ramirez should find another major league deal and if I had to put my money on who signs him as things stand today, I’d go with Minnesota, Oakland or Texas as the 3 best options, in that order.
Update: 4:31 PM Mark Feinsand of MLB.com shares only one of my 3 picks, but its my #1 pick.