In case you've been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, lemme inform you that Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers finally came to terms on a contract. The terms look like this: 2 years/$45 million bucks and the potential for Manny to opt out after this year if he chooses. I'd bet my bottom dollar that Ramirez will opt out after the season to once again chase the all mighty dollar. Anyone else ready for the Manny Ramirez saga: Round 2?
But what's surprised me most about the Manny signing is how strongly the opinions on Manny differ right now. It's hard for many to find the middle ground on Manny...it's seems as though people love him or they don't. The only thing more polarizing right now that Manny is the House of Representatives and we all know how effectively they work.
There are two differing schools of thought on Manny Ramirez.
First, we have the numbers folks. They make the common sense argument that the Dodgers are a much better team with Manny Ramirez in their lineup because of his ridiculous production. A motivated and in shape Manny is good for something along the lines of 40 home runs, 135 RBI, .420 OBP, and a .300+ batting average. Any team would kill to have production like that.
Also, there is the economic numbers side to this discussion. Manny brings in tons of revenue to the Dodgers simply based on his presence on the roster. Between ticket sales, t-shirts, souvenirs, concessions, advertising, and marketing; the Dodgers should be a much more profitable team with Ramirez on board. There is no doubt that fans will flock to see Manny and be apart of Manny mania in LA this season.
Ramirez is one of the best hitters alive and the Dodgers should feel fortunate to have Manny on their roster...right?
Well, not according to the other group of folks. We'll call them the Manny pessimists. They are the ones who remember how Manny quit on the Red Sox multiple times during his tenure in Boston, played when he wanted too and at times, faked injuries. These people cannot stand his antics. Manny being Manny is a hindrance to the ball club and Ramirez will ultimately become a cancer to the entire team if he is not motivated. Who knows if Manny will quit on the team if he is unhappy. In the end, Manny's shenanigans will outweigh his tremendous hitting ability and prevent the team from achieving their true potential.
It's tough to win a championship when the best player on the team quits on the other 24 guys...right?
With all that said, I would welcome Manny Ramirez on my team any day. Ramirez is simply too good of a hitter to ignore. He will go down as one of the best hitters in baseball history despite his larger than life persona. His power numbers leave baseball people salivating, pitchers in fear, and put fans in the stands. Manny offers a lot to everyone...there is no doubt about that.
I have no doubt that if Manny stays in a place to long, he will wear out his welcome. We have seen this happen before. As a result, I would not want Ramirez on my team for more than a season or two. Not only would this protect my team from getting stuck with a quitter, but it would keep Manny motivated to get another big contract.
That's why I like what the Dodgers did in signing Ramirez. Sure they had to overpay for his services, but they were able to sign Manny to a contract that should keep him motivated and hungry throughout 2009 and maybe 2010. I think the Dodgers did about as well as they could in ensuring that they get the best Manny possible and not the one who quits on teams. We'll see which Manny the Dodgers get-productive or cancerous...the answer will more than likely decide how far the Dodgers go this season.
So where do you stand on the Manny polarization scale? Are you a numbers guy, or a Manny pessimist?