Saturday, August 9, 2008

Free Agent at the End of the Season: Manny Ramirez

For the past 12 or 13 years, Manny Ramirez has established himself into one of the game's best sluggers as he consistently puts up tremendous numbers year in and year out. Manny won two World Series championships with the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, but "Manny being Manny" finally wore out the Red Sox this year when the Sox traded him to the Dodgers. Any GM will have to evaluate the risk vs. reward factor when throwing millions of dollars at Manny. If I get Manny Ramirez, will he be a cancer in the locker room? And if so, will he hit enough to not totally harm the team? It's a tricky balance because the guy is a remarkable player, but his act has run thin with many in baseball circles.

The Case for Manny
-He can hit, alot.

-He hits homeruns (at least 20 in the past 14 seasons)

He has a lifetime .406 OBP. As Barry Bonds will point out, OBP can help any team despite the distractions.

-He's clutch in both the regular season and in the post season. Manny won the 2004 World Series MVP and has hit 24 postseason HRs. Manny also is a lifetime .328 hitter with runners in scoring position. That's an amazing statistic.

-The fans love him. For all of this Manny being Manny nonsense that he made the Sox deal with, fans have really taken to Ramirez as shown by his arrival in LA. In a normally calm atmosphere, Manny provided some juice to the franchise and to the fans that hasn't been seen since the days of Todd Hollandsworth.

The Case Against Manny
-He's a clubhouse cancer. Reportedly, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein asked several veterans if he should trade Manny and they all responded with yes. Again, reportedly, the Red Sox took a vote on whether Manny should stay or go and everyone, but David Ortiz, said it was his time to go. Manny bashed the Red Sox and ownership by saying "the Red Sox don't deserve a player like me." And finally, in 2003, the Sox put Manny on irrevocable waivers in an attempt to get rid of him for nothing, but his entire salary. No one put in a claim.

-He cant play defense. As evidence by some of his Red Sox bloopers (cutting off Damon's throw, tripping over a ball in left field), this guy should be a DH and not sniff the outfield again.

-Don't get me wrong, there are some interesting names out there: Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, but none of them strike fear into a lineup like Manny. They are all getting up there in age, but only Manny has the "cancer factor" working against him. Dunn and Burrell should be DHs as well, hence giving Manny some more competition with AL teams.

3 years/ $54 million
I think that Scott Boras needs to look at the yearly salary of several players before evaluating what Manny should get.

Vernon Wells: $18 million/per year
Alfonso Soriano: 17 million/per year
Miguel Cabrera: 19 million/per year
Andruw Jones: 18 million/per year

Now obviously, Manny shouldn't get a long term deal from any team because of his age (35), but 3 years shouldn't be out of the question. I think Manny could also try for four years. 3/55 works because Manny would still be in line with the other highest paid outfielders ($18 million), but the team who signs him would absorb less of a risk than any of the three I mentioned above because they would have Manny for only 3 seasons. A contract like Andruw Jones's should not be out of line, but I'm sure Boras will be going after the most amount of money he can get his hands on. Expect the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Mets, and maybe the Orioles to be in on the Manny sweepstakes.

Jorge Says No! will continue to look at the 2009 Free Agent class with Brewers starter Ben Sheets.

No comments: