HOWEVER, it seems that those allegations may have been overblown and Hanley may very well not be under investigation at all. And reports are still coming in even as I am writing this article.
The whole thing stems from a car stop where drugs were found by police and the suspect claimed that an item in the car belonged to Ramirez. Reportedly Ramirez was then face timed during the stop in front of police.
Apparently, the man who originally brought the former Sox player's name out may simply have been trying to use Hanley's celebrity status to get leniency. The suspect (who is remaining anonymous) simply wanted to get off easy and thought, while in New England, the best way to do it is call up a Red Sox player. Perhaps, not his best plan... but according to his lawyers it was just a simple mistake in a desperate situation.
These allegations were originally considered incredibly serious and came from a very respected voice in the Boston media. Mcphee is the same investigative reporter who broke the Aaron Hernandez story back in 2013. So, her words, tied to Hanley, were not going to blow over or be dismissed very easily.
All of this lends itself very well to the fact that the Red Sox very well may not have known anything. But, it does make the timing of his release from the team a little more suspect, even if cutting him did make sense from a baseball standpoint as well. And though the reports are proving false, the timing might also explain why the veteran slugger is yet to be signed.
Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg says that the Red Sox are unaware of any investigation involving Hanley Ramirez. Another ML source familiar with the team's thinking seconded that, and reiterated that the decision to release him was "a baseball decision."
Overall this is just a strange story with a lot of questions still to be answered and while I would love to wildly speculate we have already seen how that leads to unfounded rumors and gossip. But, I have to admit that Hanley’s situation did remind me a little of another Dominican player who used to be a Red Sox star: Manny Ramirez.
Manny was traded to the Dodgers in 2008, after winning 2 world series titles with the Red Sox, and was very quickly after that suspended not once, but twice for violating the League's Drug Policy.
I will admit the situations are not mirror images: apparent PED's vs rumored Fentanyl, Trade vs Release, Production vs...well Hanley. But, it’s 2 former players with big personalities (on and off the field) and even bigger contracts who were brought in to be elite hitters and had rumored drug problems the Red Sox may or may not have known about when they were dealt away after wearing out their welcome in Boston.
Manny never really shook the drug stigma that will forever tarnish his legacy and it remains to be seen what will happen to Hanley. But, whether hes a part of my team or not, I hope he isn't held back by something that belongs more in the tabloids than legitimate news.
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