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Maybe Manny Being Manny in Oakland is OK?

January 28, 2012


I might be coming around on Manny Ramirez. I have long felt that where there is smoke there is fire. Too often when an idea first comes out it seems crazy, then it sort of gathers momentum until it reaches this point where it seems inevitable, then it happens and you are sort of surprised still as that initial crazy reaction comes in but then it just makes too much sense. Could this be happening with Manny Ramirez? First came the ESPNDeportes report regarding the A’s being interested in Ramirez. In my initial assessment I was quick to criticize the idea saying on Twitter,

“If we sign Ramirez. I’m going to post on Sunday ‘I love C.J. Wilson, My New Life as an Angels fan’ “

In a more serious assessment here on this blog I wrote,

“Let’s hope that whatever water Billy [Beane] 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.”

But it is more and more looking like this deal is something that is legitimately being cooked up. In an article yesterday from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle he spoke with A’s owner Lew Wolff who said of Manny,

“I would have no problems with that on his talent and his ability. His last experience in Tampa Bay, what I’m hearing, he was a good clubhouse guy… Why wouldn’t we [be interested] if a guy serves his term? What’s more, is he in shape? Does he want to come to us? Do we want him? I really don’t see any non-baseball reason for not having him. I wouldn’t want to not have a player because he made a mistake and paid the price for it, but that’s really up to Billy.”

Susan Slusser in a late post yesterday on the Drumbeat highlights how the A’s might know about his clubhouse influence in Tampa Bay where he spent all of spring training but only five games of the regular season prior to his abrupt retirement writing that Oakland,

“would want to do every bit of due diligence, considering Ramirez’s busts for PEDs and his occasionally odd behavior. Keep this in mind: Dan Feinstein, who recently returned to the A’s, was the Rays’ director of baseball operations last year, and when Wolff says the A’s got good reports on Ramirez from Tampa Bay people, you’d have to think Feinstein provided a thumbs up.”

She also notes that the A’s would have the luxury of watching Ramirez play all spring training giving them an opportunity to assess his value to the club. Then, she allays my major concern which is stealing time from young players most notably Chris Carter. If Carter had 50 games to show his worth to the club, with the A’s schedule as it is (assuming no rainouts, etc) that would give him through May 29th to show the A’s he is worth keeping around and can be the starting designated hitter going forward. If he does enough to demonstrate that the A’s could conceivably trade or just release the relatively inexpensive Ramirez (assuming Ramirez’ spring doesn’t lead any to doubt his utility). If Carter flops as he has done all along the A’s can send him back to Sacramento and wait out a decision on him and have a legitimate designated hitter – and frankly an attraction to get fans to the ballpark despite his mixed history – in Ramirez up with the big league club.

With Slusser outlining it that way, it really starts to not sound like such a terrible idea anymore. Furthermore, another option is that the A’s keep Ramirez – even if Carter does well – move Carter around a bit in left and at first to get at bats and then if Ramirez proves productive for two months deal him at the deadline to a team needing a legit middle of the order bat.  The more I think about it, the more Manny being Manny in Oakland might just be OK with me. This move, like his former teammate in Colon, would offer almost an insurance policy for the A’s and also could turn into other valuable pieces down the stretch. Pretty low-risk with high-reward potential.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Hungary4A'sNews permalink
    January 28, 2012 3:36 pm

    Careful..don’t drink the Koolaid ..especially that southern stuff mixed with nyquil : ) …
    I understand your arguments but I believe that many of us are just “so over” the Balco stain on the Bay Area. We have had so much talk of Bonds, Canseco (check the front of Sfgate sports) McGwire, Giambi(s) and many lesser players.. Valarde..etc… let’s just bury this mess once and for all.

    Yes, we have added some odd pieces this January and even if included as everyday players…the ‘older guard’ will most probably only occupy CF and LF so that we can start to get a look at younger guys like Cowgill and Reddick and AAAAAers at RF, 4thOF and DH. no ABS for Manny like matsui-cust-conjack types.

    Am I alone in thinking that we have a good enough mix of established and rooks?

    Including the reality of the AL West:
    I have a very strong feeling that I will be listening to Ken, Vince and Fosse through some tough Losing games….
    BUT I always stop my noise to listen to the next at bat of the New guy.
    Will he be (gold or mold?)

    • January 30, 2012 3:23 am

      I do agree there is an added PR danger with the A’s and their history of PED problems. That said, there is not a team that doesn’t have PED problems…

      I don’t think there is too much tinkering left that needs to be done. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing the A’s add another veteran pitcher, so I wouldn’t mind a re-sign of Harden.

      • Hungary4A'sNews permalink
        January 30, 2012 3:47 pm

        I guess your last paragraph summed up nicely what I was trying to say.
        { aside: I think Harden may get inked soon..It might depend on Curt Young’s relationship with him}

        But mostly, I think it is time to let these new younger (Manny-less) guys start to duke it out in Spring Training…We really don’t know what each can bring until we SEE it. That is what the (AL Bank of the West) division and the A’s pitching sell off have left us all with. Realistically, the fans probably just want to see and listen to the production of these unknown commodities and how Melvin might arrange them. That to me will be the only “expected fun” about 2012…but I like that ..getting to know MY new A’s.

      • January 30, 2012 9:14 pm

        I don’t know, while I am less frosty on the idea of Manny than I had been. I still think the young guys should get every chance to succeed. I too think Harden would be a decent signing.

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