Since the departure of one Barry Lamar Bonds, what has been the one issue that has plagued the San Francisco Giants consistently? The need for a big, middle of the order bat. What have we done to improve this problem? Nothing.
Last year the Giants signed Aaron Rowand to a monster 5-year, $60 million deal in hopes that he becomes that guy, a power guy who can help bring some offense to a depleted Giants lineup. He helps, but his performance was predictable. Coming from a hitter friendly park in Philadelphia, Rowand's drop in production can be seen from the minute he put his name on the contract.
Bengie Molina? Sure, a really good hitter and a strong clubhouse presence. But to have him in the four slot in the lineup is embarrassing. Ask any Giants fan, watching Bengie "Big Money" Molina run the bases is like watching Pamela Anderson running on the beach in a Baywatch episode (switch the hotness of Pam with the body of Bengie and you get my point).
To put it simply, what exactly has Brian Sabean done to improve this continuing problem? Well, luckily for him, there is one particular free agent this off-season that can redeem himself of all his past misses—except for Barry Zito, of course.
I have always been a fan of Manny. Not only because he was a great player, but because of his hilarious personality, his unnecessary antics, and his last name (mine is Ramirez too, if you didn't know).
I always thought, "Wow, this is who the Giants need, this is the player we need to make a move in the NL West." Well, now we have a legitimate shot to sign the player who is considered to be one of the best hitters ever to play in the majors.
If there was any time for the Giants to sign Manny, it would be now.
Coming off a Cy Young-winning season, the Giants' Tim Lincecum heads a rotation that is arguably the best in the National League. With the addition of Randy Johnson, the Giants now can move Zito down in the rotation, paving the way for a righty-lefty-righty-lefty-lefty rotation.
The rotation should be as follows: Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson, Matt Cain, Zito, and Sanchez or Noah Lowry.
Imagine that rotation in a five- or seven-game playoff series, with Manny in the four spot? The Giants will be the scariest team in the National League.
One thing Sabean got right was his persistence in acquiring pitching by any means necessary, most notably through the draft. The outlook looks even greater with the prospects of Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson, who rank as two of the best pitching prospects in baseball. With these prospects lurking, writers and fans alike have been wondering if Sabean for once will trade one of his prospects for a big bat, an essential if you want to contend for a World Series title.
But if there's one thing doesn't do, it's trade prime pitching. Some may like this, some may hate this. But now, he doesn't have to trade his young pitching. The beauty of a free agent is that it doesn't cost you any existing pieces on your team. It is simply an addition without any liability (except financial of course).
However, some see Manny as a liability not only financially but off the field as well. Look, for all those people who don't want to sign Manny because of his attitude, off field antics, and his sometimes sheer stupidity, does it matter anymore if we make the playoffs? When the Giants were playing in the World Series, did we really think: "Wow, Barry Bonds is a complete jerk." The answer is no.
"Oh, Manny will halt the development of our young players." Excuse me, but how does having the best hitter in the game hurt the young players on the Giants? If anything, Manny will help immensely with their swings and offensive game, not hurt them. Sure, maybe Fred Lewis, Nate Schierholtz, or John Bowker won't start, but can those guys offer you 40 home runs, 120 RBI, and over 100 runs each season?
"Oh, the price for Manny is way too steep." When has the price for a player ever concerned the Giants? Two seasons ago we signed Barry Zito (not C.C. Sabathia or Johan Santana) to a seven-year, $126 million deal. Outrageous at the time, and embarrassing right now, this deal will forever be known as one of the worst signings in American sports history.
No one seems to be biting on Manny. The Dodgers initially offered him a two-year, $45 million contract. Manny quickly refused in hopes of a longer term deal in the range of $25 million a year. Just weeks from Spring Training, Manny still hasn't reached that mark, and now seems like he won't have a team for a little while longer.
The most active teams on the Manny front are both the Dodgers and the Giants. The Giants should offer Manny a three-year deal, around $22 million-$24 million a year with an option for a fourth year. At this point in free agency, and with these tough economic times, this should have Manny playing in the Bay in no time.
This reason alone should have the Giants in serious negotiations: The team that is trying to sign him is the Dodgers. The Giants' most hated rival knows firsthand what Manny did to help them excel to a playoff birth and a spot in the NL Championship Series. With their average rotation and the acquisition of Manny, they managed to beat the Diamondbacks to win the West, not a huge feat by any means, but once you're in the playoffs, you're in. If signing Manny means taking the Dodgers' best player, depleting their lineup, and hurting an already lackluster rotation, why not do it?
If the Giants sign Manny, you don't think the fans will go absolutely nuts whenever he steps in the batter's box? The selling of merchandise, tickets, and TV ratings will all skyrocket, also healing the financial cost that Manny will do unto the Giants. Can you imagine Manny wigs all over AT&T Park, Lincecum starting, on a cold October night in San Francisco? I'm getting chills just thinking about it.
Simply put, winning heals all thing. Despite all these problems people might have with Man-Ram, the risk far outweighs the possible damage. Manny Ramirez will help the Giants win. And that alone should have Manny in a Giants uniform on opening day.
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