MLB Free Agency: Should the Cleveland Indians Sign Manny Ramirez?

Benjamin FlackSenior Analyst IJanuary 13, 2012

BOSTON - OCTOBER 12:  Manny Ramirez #24 of the Boston Red Sox smiles during Game One of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park on October 12, 2007 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

I'm going to propose something relatively crazy.

I think the Cleveland Indians should sign Manny Ramirez.

Before you run away, hear me out.

Ramirez needs to serve a 50-game suspension before he's allowed to play the regular season, but I think he can still be of use to the Indians.

We need a big bat in Cleveland. Everyone knows that. The only problem is that the club hasn't been able to get one.

They put out the vibe that they're in "serious talks" with just about every big-name guy but always fall just short it seems.

I'll admit that the past couple years of Manny's career he hasn't produced the big numbers that we've all come to expect. But he's only a few years removed from a 2008 season in which he had 37 HR, 121 RBI and a 1.031 OPS.

And in a piece done by ESPN's Pedro Gomez, Manny explained that one of the biggest parts to hitting for him is having his mind right. It was clear in the 2009 and 2010 seasons that something with Manny just wasn't right. He simply looked off.

We know now that he was having some serious family issues that have since been resolved. He says that he feels great and wants to be a role model for young players.

I could go on and on, but by this point you either think "sure, why not?" or "no way" and I don't think anything I'm going to say will change your mind.

For me, it's mostly nostalgic.

I love Manny. He became my favorite player when I was 10 years old when my family moved from Connecticut to the Cleveland area in October of 1995.

I grew up a Red Sox fan (my first favorite player was Roger Clemens, interestingly enough) and was first drawn to Manny when he hit a homer against the Yankees in a game in 1994. In classic 9-year-old fashion I loved him right then.

Manny has always played with a youthful exuberance that drew fans to him. His antics late in the Boston years tainted his image, but I'll never forget that smile that went from ear to ear as he celebrated with his teammates.

It was because of Manny and that magical 1995 team that I was won over to the Indians for a time.

But when Manny left for Boston in 2001 I went along with him to root for my childhood team, the Red Sox (I say "childhood" team—of course, I was all of 15 at the time).

But since Manny left Boston and the Red Sox turned into the Yankees Jr. I've wanted to be more of a Tribe fan.

My identity as a sports fan and even more so as a person is with the city of Cleveland. And I feel like bad person almost if I'm not rooting for the Indians along with the Browns and Cavs.

But the Dolans have made it very difficult for me to get excited about the team. I got into it this past year, but I waned as the team fell off.

Getting Manny back in Cleveland would really get me though. I'd be all in.

I'm probably the only person who feels this way, and I know it probably won't happen.

But I'm rooting for it.

Bring back Manny!

You can follow Benjamin Flack on Twitter @ClevelandFlack.