PHOENIX -- Hanley Ramirez has rejected the Los Angeles Dodgers’ $15.3 million qualifying offer and become a free agent, according to a source who called Monday’s decision an “expected formality.”
The Dodgers will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second round next June if he signs with another team before the start of the 2015 season and he is widely considered the best hitter on the market. The Dodgers, of course, could still re-sign Ramirez, but that seems unlikely since they began discussions about an extension in spring training and didn’t make much headway.
Reports suggest the Seattle Mariners, among other clubs, have already expressed interest in Ramirez, 30, who batted .283 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs last season. It’s unclear what position Ramirez will play moving forward as he was a defensive liability at shortstop and he has reportedly informed other teams he is willing to play elsewhere on the diamond.
His bat will certainly be appealing to teams who survey a very thin market for hitters. Ramirez won the 2009 batting title and led the NL with a 1.040 OPS in 2013 among hitters with at least 300 plate appearances.
The Dodgers likely will look to acquire a shortstop via trade between now and next spring. Reports have already linked them to the Chicago White Sox’s Alexei Ramirez, who could be a stop gap until the Dodgers’ top position-player prospect, Corey Seager, is ready.