It’s been about three weeks since the Boston Red Sox released first baseman/designated hitter Hanley Ramirez and he is still on the free agent market. But that could change as the Detroit Tigers have recently opened a roster spot. Their own first baseman, Miguel Cabrera, sustained a season-ending bicep injury this week which is major blow to the Tigers offense. While the Tigers are in the early stages of rebuilding, Cabrera (.299/.395./.448/.843 slash line) was one of their top three offensive players and a veteran leader.
Now they’ll be without their leader for the remainder of the 2018 season. The Tigers have been exploring internal options to fill the void that Cabrera leaves behind, but none of them at the moment provide the consistency and offense that Ramirez could potentially bring. The 34-year-old can still be an everyday first baseman. And while Ramirez has just an above-average slash line this season (.254/.313/.395/.708, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 25 R), he can still get on base and bring in runs.
With any rebuilding team, you always want to have a veteran player to assist with the younger guys who will eventually lead the team to success again. That’s what Cabrera -along with Victor Martinez- was to the Tigers and Ramirez can fill that same role. Especially with all of the young Latino players on the roster who are still trying to find their footing in MLB. Ramirez may not replicate the offense that Cabrera provided but he’ll make No. 24’s loss less noticeable.
The Tigers could especially use Ramirez’s bat since Martinez is having a down year. At 39-years-old Martinez is showing his age by having one of the lowest statistical seasons of his career. His current slash line stands at .243/.306/.345/.650 with just four home runs, 24 RBI’s and 14 runs scored. Some fans have called for Martinez to be benched or released as he’s only been a designated hitter who hasn’t played first base since 2016, and hasn’t played catcher since 2014.
Ramirez may not be a long-term fix for this team but he can provide stability in the short term as the Tigers continue to put their rebuilding plans together.