Red Sox Make Big Signings Official

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval and left fielder Hanley Ramirez have officially joined the Boston Red Sox, earning a combined guaranteed pay of $186 million.

It's official - the Red Sox' offseason is off to a dynamic start.

Boston officially announced the signing of third baseman Pablo Sandoval and former shortstop Hanley Ramirez on Tuesday.

Sandoval's contract is worth $95 million over five years and contains a club option for a sixth year, along with a $3 million bonus. Ramirez will earn $88 million over four years, with a vesting option for a fifth year valued at $22 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Ramirez, who started his career in Boston, will play left field for the Red Sox, as many had speculated when the signing was first reported. He has not played the outfield in the big leagues.

"I'm really happy to be back in Boston," said Ramirez Tuesday evening at a press conference. "Hopefully, I can finish my career here."

The Red Sox traded Ramirez to the then-Florida Marlins back in 2005 in a blockbuster deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston. The Marlins sent Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012.

Sandoval, also known as Kung Fu Panda, spent his entire career with the San Francisco Giants. He was introduced Tuesday afternoon.

"You want a new challenge. You want to start something new. And they gave me the opportunity to be here," said Sandoval. "To start my new challenge."

Ramirez and Sandoval represent a potentially major offensive boost for Boston, but both come with question marks.

Ramirez, who turns 31 in December, batted .283/.369/.448 with 13 homers last season, but was an MVP candidate just a year earlier, batting .345/.402/.638 with 20 homers. He is a career .300 hitter with an OPS of .873.

Sandoval, meanwhile, hits free agency at the young age of 28. He batted .279/.324/.415 last year, hitting 16 home runs. He made two All-Star teams as a member of the Giants and has a career line of .294/.346/.465.

Ramirez has a history of health problems, appearing in just 86 games during his excellent 2013 campaign and 92 back in 2011. While young and known as a solid defender, Sandoval has had ongoing weight issues. He is listed at 245 pounds, but his weight has fluctuated throughout his time in the big leagues.

A move to the American League could benefit Sandoval, as he could ultimately play as a designated hitter, eventually replacing 39-year-old David Ortiz.

The Red Sox adding both players is surprising. The team was in need of a third baseman, with Will Middlebrooks hitting below the Mendoza line last year with an abysmal .191/.256/.265 line last season.

But shortstop Xander Bogaerts was one of the top prospects in baseball going into his rookie season last year. While moving Ramirez to the outfield solves the infield logjam, it exacerbates an already-existing one in the outfield - he joins Yoenis Cespedes, Shane Victorino, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava in the mix.

Needless to say, a trade is likely. Some of the team's outfield assets could be used to replenish starting pitching, the team's greatest need. Boston traded away Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy before the trade deadline, and Clay Buchholz has been wildly inconsistent.

Lester, now a free agent after a brief tenure with the Oakland Athletics, has been in talks to return to Boston. But the Giants, after losing Sandoval, are now reportedly showing interest in the lefty.

As Comcast SportsNet New England's Sean McAdam notes, adding both players will make the Sox' offense "lethal." In one projected 2015 lineup, McAdam did not include Cespedes, Victorino or Craig, a testament to the depth.

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