|Point/Counterpoint: To Give or Not to Give Manny Big Money|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on August 22, 2008
Manny’s Not Your Man
Throughout baseball circles, it has been rumored that Manny Ramirez is looking for a deal worth $100 million. Spread over four or five seasons, that’s $20 or more a year. And for any team, even the financially set New York Yankees or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, to spend that kind of money would be a waste. There are too many negatives that come with signing Ramirez.
Yeah, he’s got a heck of a bat. Including 2008, Ramirez has hit 20 home runs in 14 consecutive seasons. He has driven in 100 runs 11 times. He has hit .300 or better 10 times. But that’s part of the problem: Ramirez has been around long enough to do that. If he signs a four-year deal, he’ll be 40 throughout the majority of his last season. Considering his good batting eye, Ramirez should age gracefully, but he’s nothing more than a full-time DH in 2009 or 2010. It just doesn’t seem prudent to throw that much money at someone that old.
Especially if they are as much of a clubhouse cancer as Ramirez is. Throughout his final days with the Red Sox, Ramirez sat out games, claiming his knee was hurt. MRIs on both knees showed nothing was wrong. He is nothing but a greedy baseball player who cares more about himself and his money than his team. If you need some more evidence, look back to 2006. He sat out a majority of the Red Sox’s games, despite David Ortiz begging him into the lineup and the Red Sox needing a boost. He was such a distraction to the team that they went 1-5 in his last six games. After acquiring Bay, the Red Sox have taken off.
Not enough evidence for you? Don’t forget that Ramirez pushed down the team’s traveling secretary. The team didn’t punish him. The Astros released (and threatened to not pay) pitcher Shawn Chacon for manhandling a team official. The Red Sox did their best to live through everything Ramirez has done. No team should sign another headache like that. Let Ramirez go elsewhere.
Okay, the question is, as a GM would I sign Manny Ramirez to a big money, long term deal and my answer is yes. There are so many reasons that I will not be able to hit them all but here are a few that I feel are the most important.
First off, it ain’t my money that we are signing him with and in reality, it isn’t even real money. The millions of dollars involved in Major League salaries these days is all offset by how many fannies are in the seats and how many jerseys get sold. Man-Ram is one of those players that will more than cover his salary through ticket sales and internet shopping. So that is just the compensation angle and who would foot the bill. Done!
What I think is the most important aspect of “His Royal Goofiness” are the numbers; oh those glorious numbers. The guy is simply gold in the postseason. In 2004 and 2007 when the Red Sox won their last two World Series Championships, his stats were off the charts. In 28 games in those two years, he had just over 100 Abs and here is his line: .350 BA, 19 Runs, 37 H, 6 HR, 28 RBI, 60 TB, 25 BB, .465 OBP, .576 SLG…Are you serious? Okay yeah, his regular season numbers are on the decline and no one will ever confuse Manny with a gold glove winner. But he produces when it matters and he protects others in the batting order.
The fact is that the only teams that will make a serious run at Ramirez are teams really close to what they feel is a championship level team and by getting Manny, they put themselves over the top. I mean, imagine Manny Ramirez on the White Sox roster or dare I say wearing pinstripes? You know the Steinbrenner family would pay that level of coin just for the shock value!
The bottom line is this; Manny is a flake, that’s no secret. What people forget though is that when Manny is happy, he hits. If I am the GM of a team and I sign him to a four year deal worth $80Million, I understand that last year is a throw-away. You will have a happy Manny for three years and that is more than enough time to win one, maybe even two championships.
The dichotomy though is that if you sign him you gain his numbers but you just might put a cancer into your clubhouse. Every time I think of how he might disrupt my clubhouse, I keep running those numbers through my bean; “.465 OBP, 28 RBI, .350 BA”. Are you serious? Those are damn near cartoonish numbers for what is supposed to be a time of high pressure. A-Rod would kill for numbers half that level and so would Yankee fans. But if you are the GM of a team that is so close to the World Series that you can smell the ring, well you might just take a chance. I would.