(CBS) The Red Sox appear to have opened their checkbooks in a big way.
Boston is on the verge of signing Hanley Ramirez, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.com, as well as third baseman Pablo Sandoval on a long-term deal, according to reports.
Ramirez and the Red Sox are putting the finishing touches on a contract worth four years and $88 million, with a fifth-year vesting option valued at $22 million. While Ramirez has been an infielder for his entire career, he’s previously said he’ll play wherever his next team needs him at. In Boston, that may mean playing left field, Rosenthal reported.
Ramirez will be joined by Sandoval, who according to a report from CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman has agreed to a five-year deal worth somewhere around $100 million, pending a physical.
These moves come with a domino effect of sorts for Chicago’s two baseball teams. In need of some left-handed power, the White Sox did their due diligence on Sandoval before deciding against any serious run at him. They signed first baseman/designated hitter Adam LaRoche to a two-year deal on Friday night.
For the Cubs, the Red Sox’s big spending on hitting may mean less money to pursue left-handed starter Jon Lester, who is a main target of both teams. Lester is expected to command a long-term contract in the range of $20 million-$25 million per season.
While the Red Sox still want starting pitching, $190 million is a big commitment for Sandoval and Ramirez that may bring with it a ceiling in the chase for Lester, who also has serious interest from the Braves.