Issue: Manny Ramirez’s arrival
Analysis: Still looking for the downside to signing the disgraced slugger? Might want to pack a lunch.
Outside of taking at-bats from some youngsters this spring while Oakland’s brass determines whether Manny can still mash and merits a roster spot when his 50-game suspension is up, there really isn’t one.
Even that argument has holes; between Cactus League action, which included split-squad games, and various opportunities to swing it in minor-league games and intrasquads, there are plenty of at-bats to go around. And then there’s that 50-game audition while Manny sits — if he even makes the team.
For a nonguaranteed $500,000, pro-rated to $320,000 with the suspension, it’s as low-risk as you can get when dealing with a man who’s gone deep 550 times in the big leagues, and rant all you want about his use of performance enhancers. The fact is, Ramirez can flat-out rake.
While writing my 2005 book about Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, I spoke to the former A’s trio at length about Ramirez, and all three of them gushed, frequently using the word “genius.”
Manny Ramirez? A genius? Yes. In the batter’s box. (Clearly not in life, we can all agree.) The same was often said of Barry Bonds.
Sure, they have the drug thing in common, but PEDs don’t square the ball up. That’s God-given ability.
And if Manny has maintained that ability, he could quickly turn what’s being painted by some as a circus into a compelling show within The Show.