According to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com, the Red Sox released Ramirez instead of trading him after designating him for assignment, which gives him the opportunity to sign with any team in 48 hours.
This comes after the Red Sox announced on Friday they designated Ramirez for assignment to make room for Dustin Pedroia to return to the roster following an injury rehabilitation stint in the minor leagues.
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe noted manager Alex Cora suggested the move to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski when discussing how they would open up space for Pedroia.
"It's a move that's surprising for a lot of people, but it's a baseball move and I do feel that we can maximize this roster, the way it is now, better than [how] it was yesterday," Cora said, per Speier.
Ramirez reacted to the news on Friday:
There was also a financial component to this decision as well. According to Spotrac, Ramirez was set to earn a vesting option worth $22 million for the 2019 campaign if he tallied 497 plate appearances this season.
The slugger played for the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in his career and boasts an impressive resume with three All-Star Game appearances, two Silver Sluggers, a Rookie of the Year award and a batting title.
He was formidable for Boston as recently as 2016 when he slashed .286/.351/.505 with 30 home runs and 111 RBI. However, he dealt with health issues and offseason shoulder surgery and slashed just .242/.320/.429 with 23 home runs and 62 RBI last season.
The 34-year-old Ramirez slashed .254/.313/.395 with six home runs in 44 games this season before this move.