Hanley Ramirez reportedly willing to change positions

Hanley Ramirez might be the best free agent position player available this offseason. The question is, at which position?

Analysts have suggested that Ramirez might not find much of a market at shortstop given his defensive deficiencies and the unlikelihood that he’ll stick at the position through the length of whatever contract he signs.

That could change, however, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Ramirez is telling his suitors he’s open to playing “wherever there’s a need.” That could mean a corner-outfield position — though he’s never played the outfield professionally — or more likely third base, a position of need for several big-market teams.

Ramirez, who turns 31 in December, hit .283/.369/.448 with 13 homers and 71 RBIs in 128 games last season for the Dodgers. He led all qualified big-league shortstops in on-base percentage and slugging percentage — he was the only player at the position with an OPS above .779 — and ranked fourth in average.

Ramirez’s defensive numbers at shortstop were not as impressive, however. His Defensive Runs Saved total was -9, and his Ultimate Zone Rating was -10.3. The advanced defensive metrics have never been particularly kind to Ramirez.

At third base, however, Ramirez would still be an above-average hitter given his offensive talent, and there’s a chance it could help keep him on the field. Ramirez was a dependable option from 2006-12, but he’s only averaged 107 games over the last two seasons.

Depending on what happens with Pablo Sandoval and Chase Headley, the Giants, Red Sox and Yankees figure to be among the teams looking for a third baseman this winter.

2 Comments

Sandoval is the best position player on the free agent market. It would be a shame if the Giants let him go.

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