Manny Signs with Oakland: 5 Teams That Could Have Used the Slugger More
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Early today it was announced that the maligned slugger, Manny Ramirez, signed a one-year minor league contract with the Oakland A's, for what will be worth $500,000 if Man-Ram sticks with the big league club.
There have been some mixed sentiments about signing Manny within the Oakland clubhouse. Ramirez's former teammates, Bartolo Colon and Coco Crisp are both happy with the move.
However, there has also been some negative feedback on the signing, as one player expressed concerns over Manny taking away at-bats from the younger players that will be with the team for the long term.
If we were to assume that Manny would have taken a 500K contract to play for any team in the MLB, there are five other teams in the league that could have used the right-handed power hitter more than Oakland.
No. 5: Boston Red Sox
Would a reunion between the Sox and Ramirez work?
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Do the Boston Red Sox need Manny Ramirez? Absolutely not. But, think about it. What would the Red Sox have to lose if they brought back Ramirez for 500K?
Man-Ram is one of the most popular players in Red Sox history and was a key component of the 2004 and 2007 World Series championship teams. But, he also had his poor times in Boston, and it seemed like Manny wanted to play in Boston forever one day, and then he wanted to leave town the next.
Manny would fit in well with the clubhouse that is in place now, as he has played with most of these players before.
Having Bobby Valentine as the skipper wouldn't hurt either, as he wouldn't put up with the antics that former manager Terry Francona let slide.
Manny had a swing perfect for the Green Monster in Fenway, and he could step in and play left field in a real pinch.
As a backup left fielder, second DH and a bat off the bench, the Red Sox could do much worse.
No. 4: Houston Astros
If Manny was willing to sign with an AL bottom-feeder, why wouldn't he try his luck with the NL bottom-feeder?
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Jack Cust is not really a name that jumps off the page or catches your attention. In fact, aside from a little time here or there, Cust really hasn't played too many games in the outfield over the last few seasons. But, Houston brought him in with a 600K deal this past offseason.
Jack Cust has hit left-handed pitchers to a tune of .228 over the course of his career. In comparison, in Manny's worst season in 2010, the right-handed slugger batted .265 against lefties.
Of course, the comparison can be made that Cust is a left-handed batter, so of course he would bat worse than Manny against lefties. However, if we look at right-handed pitchers we see a similar result. Cust's career average is .247 against them, while Manny batted .307 against them in 2010.
Manny would be something to deal with in the locker room, like he has been all of his career. However, in a small market like Houston, it wouldn't garner as much attention as his exploits did in Los Angeles and Boston.
He couldn't be much worse in the field than Jack Cust, could he?
No. 3: Toronto Blue Jays
John Farrell has had his experiences with Manny before.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
John Farrell has been both a teammate of Manny Ramirez's and his coach. When Farrell was hired by the Toronto Blue Jays, Manny said that he would love to play for Toronto, citing that John Farrell was a great acquisition by Toronto.
Currently the Blue Jays have Edwin Encarnacion slated to be the DH. While Encarnacion has shown some flashes of brilliance, he has been known to go into a slump or two.
When Manny was at the top of his game, he was known to be one of the hardest workers in the majors when it came to hitting. If Ramirez is serious about the game now, he could take fellow Dominican Encarnacion under his wing and show him what used to work for Manny when he was trying to bust out of a slump.
Manny would be able to find some friends in the clubhouse with fellow Domincans, Encarnacion and Jose Bautista.
If Manny gave John Farrell issues, the team could easily waive Manny and eat the 500K. But, if Man-Ram decides to become serious again, the team could have itself a mentor for two of its Dominican stars.
No. 2: Minnesota Twins
What harm could Manny do in Minnesota?
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The Twins aren't afraid to bring in veterans to DH for them, as evidenced by the time that Jim Thome spent with the club. At 500K, and without a guaranteed spot on the big league roster, Minnesota could find many worse ways to spend their money.
Currently, the Twins are going to employ Ryan Doumit as their DH. As a catcher, Doumit's production was pretty good. However, as a DH, his stats are going to be mediocre at best. A career .271 hitter, Doumit hasn't been healthy enough to play more than 124 games during a single season.
Even if Minnesota didn't want to give Manny a bulk of their DH at-bats, chances are he would be waiting in the wings when Doumit's eventual injury comes around.
The loss of Michael Cuddyer could be softened a little by bringing in Manny, as could bring back some of the offense that is being lost.
While Ramirez will not make it back to his previous Hall of Fame levels, there's no reason to believe he couldn't come to Minnesota and bat .275 with 20 HRs and 70 RBI.
Not bad for $500,000.
No. 1: Baltimore Orioles
Manny making a catch just before high-fiving a Boston fan in Baltimore.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
Much like Minnesota, Baltimore doesn't have anyone looking to dominate from the DH position this season. Normally teams are looking to get some power out of their DH spot, and they are not going to get that from Wilson Betemit.
This is one team that Manny could have signed with and taken over the DH spot. Betemit makes a much better utility infielder than he does a DH. By moving Betemit to the utility spot and plugging Manny into the DH position, the team could lend itself a little more credibility in the batting lineup.
For a team that has been looking to do whatever it can to get out of the AL East basement, a low-risk signing like Ramirez is the kind of move that the brass in Baltimore should have looked to do.
When you're signing a Hall of Fame caliber player for almost the league minimum, there's no reason to not take a shot on him.
Understandably, Ramirez's past locker room transgressions scared a lot of teams off, but he no longer carries the hefty price tag that once came with the emotional baggage. Manny must know this is his last shot in the majors, and even he wouldn't be foolish enough to let that go to waste.