Manny Ramirez wore out his welcome in Los Angeles last season, and didn’t exactly set the world on fire after being traded to the Chicago White Sox (two RBI in 24 games won’t exactly make people love you). So after burning bridges all across the country, will Manny find a home for 2011?
Scott Boras (Manny’s agent) has told people he is seeking a one-year deal with an eye to re-establishing Ramirez as a viable big-time bat, similar to what Vladimir Guerrero did with the Rangers this year.
Teams always seem to be willing to take a chance on outfield bats, even if said bat belongs to a guy who is a clubhouse cancer (see: Bradley, Milton; Guillen, Jose). So we’d have to assume that Ramirez will at least be given a shot by someone (at worst a minor league deal for spring training). So who could be interested?
Well, Jack Curry of the YES Network has claimed that the New York Yankees have had discussions concerning Ramirez. Curry does say that it would be a long-shot, maybe even more so than Johnny Damon because he is such a liability defensively. Buster Olney thinks the idea of Manny in the Bronx is a joke, because he just doesn’t fit, especially considering that Jorge Posada will enter spring training as the full-time designated hitter.
Another potential option could be the Philadelphia Phillies. Obviously the Phils are going all out to make bold moves this offseason, but as it stands they’ve lost some oomph in the lineup with Jayson Werth’s departure. While the deal would have to be small and Philly would have to put up with Ramirez’s antics in the outfield, he could be an attractive option. In left field Ramirez wouldn’t have a whole lot of ground to cover at Citizens Bank Park, so that would certainly cut down on some of his issues. Plus, the Phillies currently only have a declining Raul Ibanez and an unproven Domonic Brown as their corner outfield options.
Brown showed flashes last season but the 23-year-old may not be ready to take over a full-time role yet. In 35 games, Brown hit .210 with two home runs and 13 RBI, while striking out 24 times and working just five walks. Meanwhile, Ibanez played 155 games and hit .275, with 16 home runs and 83 RBI. That’s a steep drop-off from his 2009 numbers (.272, 34, 93), and his OPS dropped from .899 to .793.
The free agent market is pretty much dried up in the outfield at this point. Someone like Scott Hairston – a righty who can play all three outfield spots and has plenty of tools – could work in Philly, but obviously he hasn’t produced much in the big leagues.
The Phillies have excellent clubhouse chemistry, that could mean that the addition of Ramirez wouldn’t be a problem. And if they sign him on the cheap, they could also dump him if things went south without costing themselves too much.
Of course, the most likely scenario is a team like the Orioles signing Ramirez, parking him at the DH and hoping he hits so they can trade him at the deadline. But the Philadelphia speculation is intriguing.