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Hanley Ramirez rumors: Astros have checked on free agent shortstop

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Well, now. That'd be interesting.

Dilip Vishwanat

Ken Rosenthal out there just lobbing bombs all over the place. As the GM Meetings began Monday, rumors have begun to circulate on free agent targets. Some of them seem...less substantial, like when Rosenthal reported that the White Sox had pursued Jason Castro "in the past." How long ago was that? Last summer? Last winter?

This, though. This could be huge.

Are the Astros being used as a mystery team to drive up Hanley's price? Or, are the Astros legitimately looking at adding the shortstop? As Rosenthal says, the team already has young players at both shortstop and third who are close to MLB-ready.

On the other hand, with the TV deal getting cleared up, it sounds like Houston could see a jump in payroll. They could absolutely afford to bring in Hanley and make other additions to the team for next season. Yet, would they want to give him a six- or seven-year contract? That's the part I doubt.

Ramirez, too, is a worrying free agent target. Ramirez will turn 31 in December, but has only played in 100 or more games twice in the last four years. Last season, he hit .283/.369/.448 in 128 games for the Dodgers with 13 home runs and 14 stolen bases.

For his career, Ramirez is a .300/.373/.500 hitter who has topped 20 home runs in six of his 10 seasons. He's also been an average to below-average defender at shortstop for the past five years.

Anyways, an interesting addition to the early offseason rumor mill. Would you want Hanley Ramirez as part of the next great Astros team?