BOSTON — A report of a criminal investigation involving Hanley Ramirez on Friday called into question the Red Sox’ motives for cutting ties with the slugger roughly a month ago.
Michele McPhee, an investigative reporter who is affiliated with ABC News and Newsweek according to her Twitter biography, on Friday afternoon wrote that Ramirez “was being eyed with an ongoing federal and state investigation” related to a drug ring.
Red Sox spokesman Kevin Gregg said the team found out about the matter only when a reporter inquired and that Ramirez was released for baseball reasons. Major League Baseball, which seemed similarly surprised, had no comment. Neither party confirmed the presence of an investigation.
Ramirez, in a statement issued via his agency, said that he is unaware of any state or federal investigation involving him.
Shortly after her Tweet, McPhee elaborated in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub.
“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said, via The Sports Hub’s website. “And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”
The person who was pulled over was found with “435 grams of fentanyl as well as a large amount of crack cocaine,” McPhee said.
“There is a sweeping federal case involving a substantial ring that’s being operated out of Lawrence, Massachusetts,” McPhee said. “And I think the suspect had ties to that ring.”