CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Indians, after all the trades and free agent departures this off-season, still seem to be at least one bat short.
They brought back Carlos Santana and traded for Jake Bauers, who are expected to share time at first base, DH and perhaps left field. But there was still a missing element. Somebody to join them in the middle of the order to replace Edwin Encarnacion or Yonder Alonso or Yandy Diaz.
Could that player be Hanley Ramirez? The Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with Ramirez, pending his physical. Ramirez, released by Boston last season, will earn $1 million plus incentives if he makes the team.
The 35-year-old right-handed hitting Ramirez is expected to take his physical sometime this week.
If Ramirez makes the club, perhaps Santana and he could share first base and DH, while Bauers plays left field.
Manager Terry Francona, in talking to reporters on Sunday morning in Goodyear, Ariz., said he couldn’t comment on Ramirez except to say, “I can’t say anything. There is a time and a right place to be able to talk about things like that.”
Ramirez, a former Rookie of the Year shortstop for the Marlins in 2006, is now listed at 6-2 and 235 pounds. Last year he DH’d and played first for Boston before being released after 44 games. Ramirez’s last big year was 2016 when he hit .286 (157-for-549) with 30 homers, 111 RBI and .866 OPS for Boston.