BOSTON (CBS) — This week, rumors and whispers have begun to surface about former Red Sox player Hanley Ramirez. Late Friday afternoon, some details have been added to the picture.
Ramirez is “being eyed in connection with an ongoing federal and state investigation,” according to ABC News’ Michele McPhee.
The report fits with the rumors this week, which cautioned that a major news story involving Ramirez could break soon. It also came after two separate members of the Boston sports media hinted that some Ramirez news could soon be on the way on Friday afternoon.
McPhee was one of the first to report that an arrest warrant was being prepared for Aaron Hernandez in June 2013.
McPhee joined The Baseball Reporters on 98.5 The Sports Hub after her tweet and added more details.
“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said on The Sports Hub. “And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”
McPhee reported that the suspect who was pulled over — a person who was not Ramirez — was found with “435 grams of fentanyl as well as a large amount of crack cocaine.”
“There is a sweeping federal case involving a substantial ring that’s being operated out of Lawrence, Massachusetts,” McPhee said. “And I think the suspect had ties to that ring.”
McPhee also hinted that more information will become available to anyone who heads to Lawrence District Court to pick up a court docket on Monday morning.
McPhee reached out to Red Sox director of media relations Kevin Gregg, who told her that the team was not aware of any investigations when Ramirez was designated for assignment. Gregg told reporters the same message around the same time of McPhee’s radio interview.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reached out to Ramirez’s agent, who said that Ramirez has no knowledge of any of the allegations or ongoing investigations.
Ramirez, 34, was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on May 25 and was officially released from the team on June 1. Ramirez had been on track to make 497 plate appearances, which would have automatically triggered the vesting option that would have put the Red Sox on the hook for Ramirez and his $22 million salary for the 2019 season.
The right-handed hitter was batting just .254 this season, after hitting 6-for-80 (.163) in the month of May prior to his DFA. In his career, Ramirez batted .290 with 269 home runs and an .848 OPS. After signing a four-year, $88 million with the Red Sox in November of 2014, he batted .260 with a .777 OPS for Boston, averaging 20 home runs and 64 RBIs per season.
At a press conference on May 25, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that the suggestion to DFA Ramirez came from manager Alex Cora and was related to Ramirez being a bad fit as a bench player.
Despite still being a capable MLB player at age 34, and despite being available for an MLB minimum contract, no teams were linked to Ramirez after his release from the Red Sox.