The Boston Red Sox made the biggest splash of the free agency period Monday, as they signed Hanley Ramirez for four years, $88 million and Pablo Sandoval for five years, $95 million. The Red Sox finished 2014 71-91 only one season after winning the World Series, as their starting pitching underperformed and many of their younger players proved not ready for full-time major league rolls. These are the first big-dollar contracts the Red Sox have given out since 2011, and here are the SportsZone Pros and Cons for Boston:


– Committing a combined $40 million combined to Sandoval and Ramirez presents a giant leap of faith for both players. Sandoval, 28, comes with the worries of a traditionally overweight player as he nears his 30s, while Ramirez, 30, has missed a total of 110 games over the last two seasons. While both are proven offensive performers, their defense in addition to their durability makes one wonder if both will give the Red Sox a full return on their investments.


– While youngsters Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Will Middlebrooks may still turn into quality major leaguers, all three looked entirely overwhelmed when thrust into everyday duty last season. With Sandoval and Ramirez now in the fold the Red Sox can ease back the pressure on these three, as well as Brock Holt, Mookie Betts, and Cuban-signee Rumsey Castillo, while adding serious offensive firepower behind David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, and Dustin Pedroia.

– While Sandoval has only averaged 14 home runs over the last three seasons, that number could very well move closer to 20, moving from the re-nowned pitchers’ paradise in San Francisco to Fenway Park. Ditto with Ramirez, who has hit 20 home runs in four straight seasons at one point in his career.

– The flexibility the Red Sox now have gives them endless possibilities, not just with their lineup, but with what they can now do to add pitching to a rotation that sorely needs it. Boston now has 11 players who can play some form of third, short, and the outfield between Bogaerts, Sandoval, Ramirez, Middlebrooks, Garin Cecchini, Betts, Yeonis Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Holt, Castillo, and Allen Craig. While they could still re-sign Jon Lester or sign either James Shield or Max Scherzer, it is highly likely they trade some of this surplus for a starter, with Cole Hamels’ name being talked about as a possibility and Cespedes being the most likely to be dealt. One way or another, this is a bold step towards returning to the postseason for the Red Sox, but the value in these signings could be the ability to make whatever moves the front office makes next.

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