David Ortiz said he is going to take Hanley Ramirez under his wing when it comes to learning how to be a DH. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today)
David Ortiz believes Hanley Ramirez at first base this season. But he also knows the reality that is coming after the 2016 season.
Whether or not the first base switch works, Ramirez remains the No. 1 candidate to slide into the Red Sox‘ designated hitter spot once Ortiz retires.
That’s why the current DH is ready to offer some proactive advice.
“This year I’m going to talk to him about it and take him through things I normally like to do,” Ortiz said. “In case it happens, he will be ready for it. I’ve got no problem showing my boy anything that I know.”
Talking to reporters at last weekend’s Winter Weekend, it certainly didn’t seem like Ramirez was going to take offense to the idea he might slide over to DH a year from now.
“Hell, yeah,” Ramirez said when asked about his interest in potentially DHing. “When you’ve got two things to do, play defense and offense (versus) just sitting in the dugout, it’s a little different.”
Thus far in Ramirez’s career, the DH spot seems to fit him well.
In his 11 games as a designated hitter in 2015, Ramirez totaled a .295 batting average with five homers and a 1.001 OPS. For his career, the 32 year old has hit .316 with a .946 OPS in 25 games at the position.
Some factors to consider when playing out Ramirez’s potential move to first base is the development of Travis Shaw and/or Sam Travis, along with the Red Sox’ interest in Blue Jays first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion when/if he becomes a free agent after the ’16 season.
Until then, Ortiz believes Ramirez’s second season with the Red Sox will be a productive one — both while playing first and under the mentorship of the retiring DH.
“Hanley has the same personality that I have. He’s a lovely guy. He’s a guy who is noisy. He loves his teammates. He likes to have a good time. He loves the game,” Ortiz said.
“I definitely believe that he’s going to be OK. He’s going back to the infield. All he needs to learn is how to move around the bag, which isn’t anything that is impossible, and go from there.”