Manny no longer in the plans for Oakland
Ever since his first suspension, California has not been kind to Manny Ramirez. He was exiled from the Dodgers when he was sent to Chicago. His latest comeback was delayed when he failed to show his previous power. Now, his days of basking in the California sunshine are over.
Manny Ramirez has asked for, and been granted release from his minor-league contract with the Oakland A’s. He was playing in Sacramento for the triple-a affiliate and asked that if they weren’t going to promote him soon to just release him. As of yesterday, he is no longer an Athletic.
My biggest question is: why didn’t they call him up?
The A’s are terrible. The team currently sits five games under .500, and are not even close to playoff contention. They are injured in the outfield, and cannot hit consistently.
While he has yet to hit a home run, Ramirez did hit .302 in his 17 games in triple-a. The A’s could use someone with the ability to get on base.
Even if he doesn’t ever regain his power, Ramirez does bring other things to the table that should have been enough to justify keeping him around.
Even though this feels weird saying, he could be valuable due to his leadership. He was a great teacher, and from all accounts a team-player during spring training. He could be useful as a mentor to the youth in Oakland, especially young prospect Yoenis Cespedes, who considers Ramirez his favorite player.
There is also the marketability of Ramirez to take into consideration. Oakland doesn’t really have any big-name athletes on their club. Ramirez will put butts in the seats, plain and simple. This cannot be undervalued. The team is looking to move in the not too distant future, and the extra revenue Ramirez is capable of generating would help that transition go just a little more smoothly.
If these aren’t enough reasons, there is also the chance he will regain some of his former effectiveness. He just came off a 50-game suspension and didn’t play for the majority of last season. Needless to say, it is understandable that he would be a tad bit rusty. If he is given the chance to shake off the cobwebs, he could still be a good player. He may never be amongst the most feared hitters in baseball again, but he could still have an impact.
Now what’s left to be seen is whether or not he will get that chance with someone else. I believe that answer is a resounding yes. I think several teams will show interest. Teams that lack power. Teams that lack experience. Even teams that simply lack attendance.
The place I would most look for him to land is the familiar AL East.
Tampa wont be interested, as they signed Hideki Matsui to fill their power void in the case of an emergency. Also, I doubt they have forgotten how he spurned the team last season.
Toronto also probably won’t take a flier. They didn’t have room in the majors for Vlad Guererro, and released him in similar fashion. The remaining teams should all at least consider bringing him in.
The Orioles are starting to fall back some after a hot start. I think they still have a legitimate chance at a wildcard. They are unfamiliar with the postseason, having long been merely fodder for the powerhouses in the AL East. Manny would bring his vast experience to the table and perhaps even some offensive punch.
The Red Sox should also consider bringing the slugger back to Beantown. In the midst of a miserable season, the Fenway faithful are in desperate need of a reason to cheer. Manny was adored in Boston, and enjoyed the height of his success. The familiarity could be exactly what he needs to get back on track. Plus, it’s hard not to see him as an upgrade over some of the players gracing the Boston roster.
The last team is his former nemesis in the New York Yankees. While it may be a little hard to picture him in pinstripes, the move would actually make some sense. The Bronx Bombers live and die by the home run. Ramirez has hit 555 jacks in his career. The team love to bring in veteran power during the season (i.e. Lance Berkman). The short porch at Yankee Stadium should help him find his power. They currently have a platoon at the DH spot, and this move could solidify their lineup. The also have dealt with injuries in the outfield and who knows when Brett Gardiner will be back considering he just suffered yet another setback. This would be a low-risk move at low-cost. I doubt he will be any worse than Wise or Nix.
Manny has always been an enigmatic figure, but that doesn’t mean he has no place in the game. That place may not be California but someone should take a chance. He didn’t fit with the plans of “Moneyball Beane,” now we will wait an see if anyone else has room for such a big personality.
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