Thursday, January 6, 2011
Manny Ramirez: Why Not?
Today, Manny still hasn't been signed by any team and Alex Anthopolous (not to mention the rest of the Blue Jays front office as well) hasn't even acknowledged that they intend to sign another 1B/DH player this offseason let alone proclaim that they Blue Jays have particular interest in Manny Ramirez.
It's hard to imagine that the Jays are content with allowing Edwin Encarnacion to play a full season of 600 at-bats, alternating between first and DH with Adam Lind. Statistics heavily favour the thought process of platooning EE and Lind at first, as Encarnacion obliterates left-handing pitching (past three years: .888 OPS) while Adam Lind had probably the worst lefty split in the history of the game in 2010 (a horrid .341 OPS). The plan the past couple years was to keep Lind in against left-handed pitchers, allow him to become more comfortable against them.
And while he was solid against lefties in his breakout 2009 campaign(.779 OPS), his 2010 split strongly suggests that it's time to cut the cord. A platoon with Encarnacion is by far the best option when keeping the betterment of the team at mind.
So, with Encarnacion and Lind occupied, Toronto really needs to go find another bat, and I believe that Manny Ramirez is the solution for multiple reasons, not just including on-field performance. His mere presence on the field would attract a multitude of fans to the ballpark, it's hard to dispute that Manny is a fan favourite, and I think the clubhouse-cancer speculation is a bit overplayed. The man just wants to play baseball and his obsession with the game can endanger alienation among teammates, but that doesn't mean he's a negative influence.
Plus, much to the disagreement of some casual fans, Manny can still produce. Sure, he might not ever hit 30 home runs in a season again or even hit for a .300 average in 2011, but he can sure work a walk and remains to at least have plus power. Many point to his 'terrible' time with the White Sox as a sure sight of bad things to come, but it's important to note that Manny still managed to put up a .420 OBP in those 24 games.
It's easy to assume that Ramirez will get on-base at more than a .400 clip in 2011, and that kind of production is always welcome on any baseball team, regardless of other statistics.
Props to Sports Illustrated for the photo.