Completely Off the Rails: Gomes and Manny
The A’s officially inked Jonny Gomes to a one-year contract today worth a reported $1.1M a year. A terrible move that really makes one wonder what exactly is the plan in Oakland these days? He is expected to platoon with Seth Smith in left field where if platooned the correct way the two hit a combined .302/.374/.513 in 2011. What a stellar outfielder we have in our two left fielders! This move just keeps Collin Cowgill and Michael Taylor buried on the depth charts if not starting the season in Sacramento, and this move clearly is part of the justification for now trying to shop Brandon Allen around.
It is in the shadow of that crazy move (and a series of similarly ill-thought out ones) that an even crazier rumor emerges. Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles reports,
That basically translates that the A’s are “very interested” in none other than Manny Ramirez to play designated hitter in 2012. This is a blog I’d like to leave available for the reading pleasure of people of all age groups and all sensitivities to curse words, so my analysis here will simply be “?” as opposed to expletive strewn prose that could easily have preceded that question mark.
Ramirez, who retired last year after a second time being ensnared in MLB’s drug prevention program after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, played in just five games for the Rays, having one hit in his seventeen plate appearances. He has worked out a deal with MLB that instead of the mandatory 100 game sentence, given that he retired and missed nearly the entirety of the 2011 campaign, that he will need to serve a 50 game suspension in 2012 before he can put his cleats on. Ramirez a career .312/.411/.585 hitter, with a 69.6 career WAR, with an incredible .417 wOBA and startling 152 wRC+ is one of the best right-handed hitters of all time and has never had a season (excluding very brief stints last year and in 1993) with a wRC+ under 121 (1994). Ramirez would be a legitimate bat in the A’s lineup, though it is unclear where he’d stand following such a prolonged lack of exposure to MLB pitching and though it is unclear how effective he can be turning 40 this May.
But while Manny may very well be Manny, both at the plate and in how he acts – this is one show that the A’s certainly don’t need. The A’s need to give time to Chris Carter at designated hitter. For someone who has shown such promise – Baseball America had him as their pre-season 91st ranked prospect in 2011 and as high as 28th the year prior – he has nothing left to gain in Triple-A where he owns a .264/.361/.529 batting line with 53 home runs in 953 plate appearances. Carter, who has flopped big time in his limited time at the MLB level going .167/.226/.254 in his 124 plate appearances spread across 2010 and 2011, making him a -1.3 WAR player during that time, still deserves a shot. Carter has looked nothing short of atrocious as a fielder and designated hitter seems to be the only palatable spot for him if he is to remain an Oakland Athletic.
That said, lately Billy Beane – if rumors of his shopping Allen are to be believed – hasn’t shown much hesitance in throwing in the towel relatively early on players nowadays and maybe this would be another chance to supplant long-term success with short-term entertainment value. Let’s hope that whatever water Billy has been drinking this past week has been cleaned up and this deal does not come to fruition, having Gomes and Smith steal time from our prospects is more than enough long-term damage, we don’t need Manny being Manny bringing more.