Breaking the bank for Hanley Ramirez

Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez

Are the Los Angeles Dodgers ready to break the bank, yet again, to lock up another core piece of their franchise for the foreseeable future?

On Wednesday, upon arrival at spring training, Hanley Ramirez told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he “wants to be a Dodger for life,” before declining further comments or elaborating on his statement.

It has been previously reported that the club and Ramirez had been rumored to be in the beginning stages of contract discussions, but it still remains unclear if the two sides have progressed further towards an agreement.

After committing truckloads of money to pitcher Clayton Kershaw (7 years/ $215 million) this winter, are the Dodgers ready to again commit long-term payroll to lock in a solid piece of their future?

In 2013 Ramirez was the MLB second highest paid shortstop ($1 million less than Derek Jeter) and overall was the 35th highest paid player in the baseball. Ramirez, 30, will be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season and it would be safe to assume that if he were to test free agency he would have many potential suitors lining up to meet with him.

If the Dodgers don’t want to get into a bidding war with other deep-pocketed teams like the New York Yankees, who will be looking for an heir to replace Jeter at shortstop, then they must lock Ramirez up now.

Last season Ramirez was hampered by a few injuries that limited him to only 86 games. Although he was able to play roughly half of the season, in the games that he was able to play in, Ramirez was one of the best players in the MLB. Last season he hit .345 with 20 home runs and 57 RBIs.

Since 2007, Ramirez’s first full season in the major leagues, he leads all shortstops in home runs (161), runs (639), on-base percentage (.377) and WAR (32.8). During the same time span he also ranks 2nd in batting average (.304), fourth in RBIs (524) and eight in games played (935). If you were to compare those stats with someone such as Robinson Cano during the same time period, their numbers are pretty similar even though Cano has played in 185 more games.

Recently Cano struck gold in free agency when he landed a 10 year/$240 million contract with the Seattle Mariners. If Ramirez were to hit the free agency market today, he would most likely seek a contract to the similar to that of Cano’s. Thus, if the Dodgers want to ensure their superstar doesn’t leave LA, they must try to lock him up to a deal soon.

Although he may be expensive, the Dodgers are in the fortunate situation as they are the only team that can negotiate with him for the next several months before other teams get involved in 2015. The question for the Dodgers will have to answer, is how much they can afford?

Currently the Dodgers have already committed $216M to payroll in 2014 and $163M in 2015 without Ramirez’s extension. If he were to resign with the club on a similar contract to Cano’s, LA would most likely already exceed the $180 million in payroll for next season, which may hinder the team’s chances at landing a star player in future free agency classes.  It is interesting to note that the club already has 5 players set to make over $20 million next season with Kershaw, Zach GreinkeMatt KempAdrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

Just how far are the Dodgers willing to go in negotiations to bring back Ramirez? Will they have to commit to another $20 million a season to keep him in Dodger blue? If so, how much money will the club have to spend to bring another World Series back to the City of Angels?

  • GoRav114

    I get one keeper on my 2014 fantasy team, 10 team points league. Ramirez or Chris Davis?

    • Collin Budd

      In my opinion, Ramirez. Thanks for reading and best of luck in your league!