PHOENIX — The Red Sox need a third baseman, a lefthanded hitter, and some power to add to a lineup that was shockingly impotent last season.
Free agent switch-hitters Chase Headley and Pablo Sandoval would check all of those boxes. Headley hit 13 home runs for the Padres and Yankees last season and Sandoval 16 for the Giants. Both also are adept third basemen.
Or the Red Sox could look to make a bigger splash and arrange a reunion with Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez was 21 when the Red Sox traded him to the Florida Marlins in 2005. He was the centerpiece prospect in a package that returned Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, and now is a free agent for the first time in his career.
Ramirez, who turns 31 in December, has been primarily a shortstop in his career, but has indicated a willingness to move to third base or even left field. Ramirez has started 97 games at third base, all in 2012. Ramirez shows fading athleticism as a shortstop but could be, if nothing else, average at third base.
It’s the bat that makes him appealing. Ramirez has 57 home runs and 89 doubles over the last three seasons, along with an impressive .841 OPS. He hit .283 with an .817 OPS for the Dodgers last season.
In the more hitter-friendly AL East, Ramirez could be a presence in the order.
Some Red Sox officials, notably general manager Ben Cherington, have known Ramirez since he was a 16-year-prospect in the Dominican Republic.
Cherington did not speak to Boston reporters Monday, but a major league source said the Sox were interested in speaking to Ramirez.
There are bountiful negatives. Ramirez is a righthanded hitter and his addition would require other roster moves. He also was tendered — and refused — a qualifying offer from the Dodgers. That means his signing would cost the Red Sox their second-round draft pick.
Ramirez has missed 185 games over the last four seasons because of various injuries and is not regarded as a positive clubhouse presence.
He also would be expensive. In a free agent class lacking premier offensive players, signing Ramirez would require a significant investment. That could get well over $110 million for six years.
Still, Ramirez could become attractive to the Sox if Headley and Sandoval stay with their respective teams.
Alex Rodriguez returns to the Yankees after his 2014 suspension. But if the serial PED user is able to play next season, it would be more as a DH than at third base.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman said Monday the team would like to retain Headley, who had a .768 OPS after being obtained from the Padres in July.
“All the guys that we brought in for the most part did a really terrific job. They were great in the clubhouse and they performed well on the field. Chase is on our radar, but I think he’ll be on a lot of radars,” Cashman said.
“We’ll be a part of the process; whether we’re the ones they re-up with or not, I can’t predict. We’re certainly looking forward to continuing the dialogue.”
The Giants have been engaged in talks with Sandoval for about a week and are optimistic they can keep him. Under GM Brian Sabean, San Francisco has a history of retaining its best free agents.
The Red Sox were scheduled to meet with Sandoval’s agent, Gus Vazquez, on Monday.
Finley, Carr leave Boston
Director of player personnel Dave Finley, who spent 13 seasons with the Red Sox, left the organization to join the Los Angeles Dodgers. Finley was with the Marlins as a scout and came to the Red Sox in 2002 after then-Florida owner John Henry purchased the team. Special assignment scout Galen Carr also joined the Dodgers after 15 seasons with the Sox. He started with the team as an intern in 2000 . . . Pro scout David Keller left the Red Sox to become assistant pro scouting director of the Marlins . . . Utility player Brock Holt received one third-place vote in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. It came from Marla Ridenour of the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal. Holt is the first Red Sox player to receive a Rookie of the Year vote since Jacoby Ellsbury finished third in 2008.