Confession Time:  I love Manny Ramirez.  I always have and I always will.  No matter the circumstance or controversy that has polluted his career, I have always loved Manny Ramirez as a baseball player.  Even as a member of the Boston Red Sox, destroying my other great baseball love.

It’s true. Perhaps the only thing in baseball that I love more than Manny Ramirez is the Toronto Blue Jays franchise.

Given these two indisputable facts you’d think that when the separate entities appear to align, and a collision course becomes rumoured, I would begin the Dance of Joy or do something else that both exhibits my excitement and references 80′s pop culture.

Not so my friend.  And not merely because referencing 80′s pop culture is played, or because these rumours seem to emerge every offseason.

My two favourite people in the universe are my best friend and my little sister.  I would have no problem whatsoever trusting either of them with my life.  They’re at the very top of the, admittedly short, People I’m Willing To Take A Bullet For list.  And yet, if they made any motions toward getting together, I would embark on an any means necessary, Steven Segal Out For Justice style attack to tear it down before even the slightest spark was started.

My impulse to keep Manny and the Jays separate may not be as destructive, but it still exists.  Put simply, the two are not a good fit.

Despite having the best on base numbers among all available free agents, at this point in his career, Ramirez projects to be nothing more than a designated hitter for five days a week during the season, when not dealing with personal issues, injuries or steroid suspensions.

The Jays already have one of those, minus the off-field problems, in Adam Lind, and have a future one in Travis Snider, and got rid of another future one at this year’s trade deadline in Brett Wallace.

Yes, Lind struggled against left handed pitching in only his second full season in the Majors, but just as Jose Bautista found his swing against right handers, the phenomenon of on and off years is hardly unfamiliar.  New manager John Farrell has already talked about the Red Sox successful approach against Lind and Aaron Hill.  Given his 2009 season, Lind should be given every opportunity to come back on the strength of a new managerial staff aware of the adjustments he has to make.

It has been suggested that Lind could simply be moved to first base or left field on a permanent basis, but Lind has proven to be even more of a liability in the field over a longer stretch of time than he is against left handed pitching.

Ramriez hit a grand total of 10 home runs last year.  You could say that the current Jays lineup doesn’t need to worry about power, but there’s no place for Manny in the current Jays lineup without taking at bats away from Lind, who will still be only 27 when the 2011 season starts, or Travis Snider, who desperately needs a season worth of at bats to properly develop into the hitter that many believe he can be.

While I’ll put nothing past agent Scott Boras, it’s quite possible that the best contract available for Ramirez would be something similar to what Vladimir Guerrero signed with Texas, a one year deal that would pay him $5 – $7 million.  While the price tag is certainly within the Jays budget, finding a fit for Manny requires a complete reworking of the lineup.

Anyone suggesting that the addition of Ramirez would increase attendance or jersey sales is forgetting that the best pitcher in baseball threw from the mound at Rogers Centre for several years without attracting record attendance.  I doubt that Manny’s addition would make for a dramatic increase.

Still, it’s a fair question to ask if a rejuvinated Manny worth a $5 million deal.  He certainly is, but it would be a risk.  And this team will be taking enough risks as it is with:

  • a new manager who has no previous managerial experience,
  • a young starting staff,
  • a rookie starting catcher,
  • possibly an inexperienced Lind at first base,
  • a second baseman coming off his worst season ever,
  • a complete unknown at hot corner that may or may not be the worst throwing third baseman in the league,
  • a slugging prospect, who is now on the verge of no longer qualifying as a prospect, and still hasn’t completed a full year with the big club,
  • an overpaid center fielder whose range seems to decline every game and
  • the most powerful hitter in baseball last season who has never come close to showing that kind of isolated power or hitting ability against right handed pitching in any previous MLB season.

Finally, the goal of the Alex Anthopoulos led Toronto Blue Jays has always been said to be the production of a sustainably competitive team.  Adding Manny Ramirez to the roster does not match that objective.  The Jays claim that they will have no problem going out and signing a free agent if he’s the “final piece to the puzzle” type of player.  Ramirez, with his question marks combined with the question marks surrounding every single other position on the roster, is not that type of player.

Comments (21)

  1. Pick him up at the trade deadline next summer if there’s an opening due to injury AND the
    Jays are in the thick of it. He’ll have already worn out his welcome elsewheres by then, most
    likely.

  2. I still think if Manny was truly the missing piece, there are other guys who will available that would produce a much better yield and not take out another player in the lineup. Adam Dunn for one.

    To me if you sign Ramirez you’re saying Lind has no place on the team. That seems premature after one terrible year. And it was terrible. No question.

  3. Things would be a lot more clear if we knew whether or not Lind could play 1B full-time, but as of right now, signing Manny basically means that you’re basically counting on that working out – or, as you said, writing Lind off for good, neither or which seems to make much sense right now.

    It’s unfortunate that Lind already has a big contract and is getting married this offseason, because otherwise it would be pretty reasonable for him to go play some Winter Ball and see how things go as a first baseman. But since that’s not an option, you’re right – neither is Manny.

    One thing that really ought to be considered, re: using a single player to boost attendance… obviously it didn’t work with Halladay or Clemens and it likely wouldn’t work with a guy like Manny, BUT it would almost undoubtedly work if the Jays could somehow get their hands on a prominent Asian player. The entire sections full of Asian fans that pop up every time Ichiro or Choo or Dice-K come to town should be evidence enough of that.

  4. There is no risk in Manny Ramirez. He remains one of the better hitters in baseball and will be available at a relatively cheap cost. I’m not seeing the issue here.

  5. Ty, even the worst athletes in baseball can play 1B…Lind playing there shouldn’t be a concern. And it’s a very weak excuse not to sign Manny Ramirez on the cheap.

  6. I don’t get why so many people feel Adam Lind is a huge liability in left field.. He’s okay… In fact, he’s probably better than Adam Dunn is at right field…..

    I would guess with Cito gone, Lind is going to get more of a chance to play some defense.. Be it at first or left.. And he will be fine..

    If Carlos Delgado can play first, Adam Lind can…

  7. Not a good fit? He has wanted to be here since forever ago. He’s Dominican. Jose is Dominican. He likes Farrell. Rogers likes making money. Alex is not going to build a sustainable winning team in one swoop. He can use Manny on a one year deal to buy himself time to find a permanent fixture at 1B. The other options for 1B are to make a blockbuster trade or sign another stopgap like Overbay. The first option is obviously preferable but what’s the point of the latter when you have to figure out what to do with Lind regardless of what happens? Might as well sign Manny and give Lind a shot. It’s only first base after all.

  8. I think you’re completely underestimating the importance of a first baseman, especially given the question marks at every other position on the roster. If anyone could play first, why would more than half the teams in the league suffer through with a 1B with a sub .800 OPS?

    I’d call Bautista a better option at first than Lind.

    I haven’t looked at his range factor or fielding WAR, but I would certainly subjectively call his range limited. His paths to balls are about as roundabout as a roundabout.

    As I said in the article, signing Manny will more than likely mean stealing at bats from Lind or Snider. Why bother spending $5 million, at best, on him when that money could’ve made the difference in signing Aroldis Chapman or someone else from Central America.

    I don’t like it one bit.

  9. You can’t play Batista at 1st because his best defensive asset is his arm. No sense putting him in a position where he’d do little good. Best place for him is in right; no need to tinker with that too much.

    I agree that Manny isn’t worth the waste of resources – plow that money into finding a AAA affiliate that doesn’t terrify any pitcher that gets sent there.

  10. “a slugging prospect, who is now on the verge of no longer qualifying as a prospect…”

    I just noticed this…what is this supposed to even mean? That Snider won’t become the hitter people thought he would be because he had a .765 OPS as a 22 year old?

  11. Haha. With a renewed commitment to scouting Central America those dollars can totally go there instead of picking up a redundant piece like Manny.

    Bautista actually sucks in right field though: http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1887&position=3B/OF#fieldingadvanced

  12. No, settle down. It means that he’s been around long enough to lose the “prospect tag.”

  13. “I think you’re completely underestimating the importance of a first baseman, especially given the question marks at every other position on the roster. If anyone could play first, why would more than half the teams in the league suffer through with a 1B with a sub .800 OPS?”

    There were only 25 qualified hitters in all of baseball with a .800+ OPS last season. This isn’t the year 2000 (or even 2006). Offense is down, but that’s certainly no reflection on the 1B position. Worrying about a guy’s ability to play it (especially a guy who was a passable outfielder) just doesn’t make any sense, and is, as I said, a weak excuse.

    “As I said in the article, signing Manny will more than likely mean stealing at bats from Lind or Snider. Why bother spending $5 million, at best, on him when that money could’ve made the difference in signing Aroldis Chapman or someone else from Central America.”
    Except it won’t, because ideally Manny would never step foot on the field as a position player, and Snider and Lind would continue starting in their respective positions. And if it ever does, it might be beneficial anyway in preventing Lind from facing as many lefties.

  14. “No, settle down. It means that he’s been around long enough to lose the “prospect tag.””

    Ah, I thought you were one of those Snider-doubting people.

  15. I’d just move Bautista to 3rd. He wouldn’t be great there defensively, but it would also fill a massive hole for this team going forward.

  16. Snider is a potential DH? Might want to recheck those numbers, chief.

  17. We can agree on that.

    What are you using as minimum PA, because I count over 90 with an OPS above .800 at 300 PA.

  18. Where do you think Snider is going to end up with that body type?

  19. >> Where do you think Snider is going to end up with that body type?

    How about the front of the line at the nearest buffet table?

  20. manny would be a welcome addition.
    put lind at first, he will be ok, Manny DH, sign Adrain Beltre to play third,keep Baustista Wells and Snider in the out field, They should also sign Buck and another starter, bring back downs and look for a closer, hopefully papelbon from boston and they will win the division

  21. Papelbon is not a solution. You lost all credibility right there.

    I don’t understand the Put Lind At First crowd. You can’t just plop anyone at first or, as Parkes suggests, you wouldn’t see half of the league’s first basemen hitting for shit.

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