As of Jan. 8, the New York Mets and manager Jerry Manuel are set to field the same starting lineup that was largely responsible for their second September collapse in as many seasons.
General Manager Omar Minaya has done a fine job upgrading the clubs most pressing need, which is the bullpen. Despite adding the arms of Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, there's a feeling that this Mets team remains incomplete.
While the Mets need to sign a starting pitcher like Derek Lowe or Oliver Perez, it seems the middle of the Mets' lineup requires to be shaken up.
Thankfully, the Mets are in luck. There just so happens to be a guy available on the free-agent market who would fill a number of voids this Mets team has.
They need an everyday left fielder. They want a reliable presence in the middle of their batting order, who can protect David Wright and take pressure off their rising star third basemen.
They need somebody who, when September rolls around, won't be thinking about what has taken place over the last two seasons. They could use somebody whom opposing pitchers will want no part of in a pennant race.
As if it couldn't be anymore obvious, the answer is Manny Ramirez.
While the price tag will undoubtedly be high, Minaya has long coveted Ramirez for the middle of the Mets batting order. The time has never been better for Minaya to make Manny a member of the Mets.
Ownership has reportedly been cold to the idea of adding the quirky slugger, perhaps as much for his off-field antics as his contract demands.
However, if Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon are committed to giving Mets fans a winning product in their new ballpark opening up in April, they need to play the role of the Steinbrenner's and do whatever it takes to bring Ramirez to Flushing.
While many feel that he is goofy and that he admires his home runs a little too much, Ramirez is one of the most prolific hitters in the history of baseball.
Following four indifferent months in Boston, Ramirez was shipped to Los Angeles where Joe Torre and the Dodgers were the beneficiaries of one of the greatest two month stretches a hitter has ever displayed.
During the final two months of the season, with his team in the middle of trying to make the playoffs, Manny hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 runs batted in. In just 53 games, his on base percentage was .489, while slugging nearly .800.
Imagine where the Mets could have ended up with that kind of production behind Wright and in front of Carlos Beltran or the resurgent Carlos Delgado?
As an analyst on Sportsnet New York stated, the Mets wouldn't have to worry about Ramirez thinking about a September collapse because he probably wouldn't know what month it was.
That's the point with Ramirez.
He doesn't care about pressure. He doesn't care about history either, as he was part of two Championship teams in Boston, including the 2004 squad which ended the Red Sox's 86—year championship drought. He just so happened to be the MVP of that World Series.
Ownership need to give their fans two final gifts heading into their new ballpark: The first is a starting pitcher, and the second is allowing Ramirez to be in orange and blue.
For a team desperate to get back in the postseason after denying itself an opportunity two years in a row, for all the arguments to make against signing him, the Wilpon's need to steal the spotlight from their cross town rivals and make one last splash to give their ball club the best possible chance to win a championship in 2009.
He's going to be costly, and he's not likely to conform from his wacky ways, but there are just too "Manny" reasons not to make Ramirez the new "King of Queens."
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