Former professional hitter Manny Ramirez is trying to make a comeback after abruptly retiring a few games into the 2011 season due to a second positive PED test and subsequent suspension.
Originally, it was thought that the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A's and Toronto Blue Jays were the final three in on Manny. O's GM Dan Duquette would never commit one way or another when asked by reporters, saying things like "Manny is an interesting player," or "we're looking to at opportunities to add more bats" or other statements of the like.
However, yesterday Duquette finally quieted those rumors with these remarks to Baltimore reporters yesterday, courtesy of Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports:
"I don't think there's going to be a fit for Manny," Duquette said. "We've looked at that all winter and I'm not sure there's a fit there for the Orioles. I wish Manny a lot of luck, but I just don't think he fits in our ballclub right now."
To O's fans, this is some of the best news, perhaps the best news, they have heard all season. An overwhelming majority of Birds fans were opposed to a one-year marriage of Manny and their beloved team, and for good reason. Manny's a clubhouse cancer, and who knows if he can even swing the bat anymore.
The Orioles' roster is full of young players. Having Manny around all those young players didn't seem like the best idea, as his negative attitude could have poorly influenced the clubhouse. That's the last thing the young minds need in Baltimore while they're trying to improve their game and reach the lofty expectations thrust upon them.
Plus, due to his positive PED test in 2011, Manny would have to sit out the first 50 games of the season. With the loss of those 50 games in addition to the fact that Manny would probably need to ride the bench every so often to rest up, the team that signs him is looking at roughly 100 to 105 games of service from him during the 2012 season, if they're lucky. Of course, that would be assuming he doesn't get injured.
Looking at the situation, it certainly doesn't seem like a good idea for the O's. Manager Buck Showalter would love to leave the DH spot relatively open for him to rotate his players through in order to play the best defensive alignment each game and rest who needs to be rested (such as the ability to keep catcher Matt Wieters' bat in the lineup while giving him a break from the catching gear), and with Manny on the team, he couldn't do that if he wanted Manny in the lineup.
Any team that signs Manny is essentially signing him to be a full-time DH, since he was never effective in the field during his career to begin with and would only be worse now due to his age.
Essentially, this is a good move by the Orioles simply by not making a move. The O's don't need Manny, and I would almost bet that they'll get better production out of the DH spot this season by rotating the likes of Wieters, utility man Wilson Betemit, left fielder Nolan Reimold, etc. through it than they would having Manny there full-time.
I'm just happy that I won't be entertained by Ramirez's "Manny being Manny" antics this season with him in the orange and black.