Astros Rumors: Houston has checked in on free agent Hanley Ramirez

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Being a cost conscious team, the Houston Astros are not likely to be tied to many of the upper tier free agents. Cost aside, the team’s performance level over the last several years also makes them as inconceivable a landing spot as any for a top guy. So I’ll warn you to take the following with a small grain of salt.

According to a recent Tweet from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Astros have reportedly checked in on the status of free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

The key words there are “checked in”. It provides no commitment over whether the Astros have met with Ramirez’s representatives or the player himself, or if the team will consider making a play at Ramirez to fill its hole at either shortstop or third base. Checked in is fairly generic this time of year and could simply mean they wanted to gauge his interest and what his asking price would be.

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The 31-year-old Hanley Ramirez doesn’t seem a like a logical fit for the Houston Astros, as the team isn’t necessarily looking to fill the holes at shortstop and third base with long-term solutions. The Astros have top prospect Carlos Correa and top third base prospect Rio Ruiz likely two years away, maybe sooner, so adding a four or five year commitment to an aging infielder isn’t likely a wise decision.

Still, Ramirez is an interesting player and would certainly represent a solid upgrade over Matt Dominguez at third base (I don’t put much stock in him sticking at shortstop). A career .300/.373/.500 hitter with a 133 wRC+ is an upgrade for any team. However, with Ramirez ranking 4th on MLB Trade Rumors Free Agent Ranking, he represents another free agent contract that is prohibitive to the Astros’ salary structure.

That all in mind, while entertaining some of these thoughts of grandeur in relation to free agents, the reality of the situation is far different, and the team will likely go in another direction. Still, thank you Mr. Rosenthal for feeding us some warm thoughts for the day.