By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Dave Dombrowski is the president of baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox. He has final say on all baseball decisions. So the move to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment ultimately was his call.
But according to Dombrowski, the origin of the idea didn’t come from him. It came from manager Alex Cora.
In a meeting with the media on Friday afternoon at Fenway Park, Dombrowski said the Red Sox knew they had to make a roster move to correspond with the activation of Dustin Pedroia off the disabled list, and the team was prepared to go in a certain direction.
“We were prepared to maybe go in a different direction with our move,” Dombrowski said. “[Cora] called me, I remember it was about 11:30 in the morning, I was getting ready to go for a run, and Alex said, ‘I’ve got a thought for you about what we’re doing.’ And he said, ‘This is a move that I would like to make, I recommend making.’ Ultimately it comes into my final decision, but he said, ‘I really want to play Mitch Moreland more. He’s a good player, he’s played very well for us. I don’t think that Hanley is a person that [handles sitting] on the bench well. It gives us an opportunity to keep Blake Swihart and also be in a position where Blake can get more playing time.’ And so he said, ‘This is something that I’d recommend us doing.’ And I said, ‘You’re sure?’ And he said yeah and he went through some different reasons behind it and his thought process. And what I asked him to do at that point was to make sure that he went to the ballpark to meet with his coaching staff and be in a position where that was what he really wanted to do. I got to the ballpark yesterday, Frank Wren and I drove over, and he said this is what we’d like to do. So we proceeded in that direction.”
Considering Ramirez’s status as a 14-year MLB veteran, Dombrowski agreed that a part-time role might not suit him with Boston. And with Mitch Moreland playing well, such a scenario might have been coming soon.
“It becomes the part of really not being in a spot where he’ll handle that role maybe as much as others would,” Dombrowski said of Ramirez. “We don’t think he’d be happy in that type of role on a consistent basis.”
Later when speaking to the media himself, Cora spoke to the challenge that would have arisen if Ramirez was going to have to come out of the regular lineup.
“I think his role was going to diminish,” Cora said of Ramirez. “For how good of a player he is, it was going to be difficult. It was probably going to be a platoon, maybe come in and pinch hit late in games, and that’s not a perfect role for Hanley Ramirez. He’s a guy who he needs his at-bats, and obviously with the versatility that we have with the other players — with Brock [Holt], with [Eduardo] Nunez, and with Blake [Swihart] — as far as managing the game, it’s a lot easier with those guys.”
Dombrowski said the idea to DFA Ramirez was not really on his mind when it was suggested to him by Cora.
“Yeah. Yeah I was. I was surprised at the time,” Dombrowski said. “I digested it, I made some notes, I was going for a jog, I thought about it while I was jogging. But yeah I was a little bit surprised, because that wasn’t the direction we were going to in that particular time. But again, we had talked about so many different thinks — sometimes they’re ideas that are trade ideas where you’re just kicking things around. So I wouldn’t say shocked, but I’d say surprised.
Dombrowski also fought against the notion that the Red Sox only DFA’d Ramirez so that his $22 million vesting option wouldn’t come into play once Ramirez hit a certain number of plate appearances this season.
“It was a baseball-related move for us. We’ve been looking at making a move because we knew that this day, where Dustin would come back,” Dombrowski said. “So for us it really is a baseball move, one that I talked to Alex about yesterday.”
Dombrowski later added: “The vesting option had nothing to do with this, because we’re in a situation — as you can see — basically we’re trying to do everything we can to possibly win. So that would not be an obstacle in that regard.”