As we all know, Manny Ramirez is still "out of work." And for the majority of baseball's '08-'09 offseason, (Post-CC Sabthia's signing) the most popular topic has been the free-agent status of Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez, along with his infamous agent Scott Boras, have yet to receive a contract offer (from any team) that they feel is adequate for the services of such a big-name superstar.
Most recently, Ramirez was once again "just Manny being Manny" when he rejected the Dodgers' offer of a one-year contract for $25 million. The contract would have made him the second-highest-paid player in the Major Leagues behind Alex Rodriguez.
Now, the Dodgers have also previously offered Ramirez a two-year deal for $45 million that they withdrew after Ramirez failed to respond.
The only teams known to be interested in Ramirez are the aforementioned Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. The Giants, however, have yet to make an official offer.
Although, it seems well within the reasonable possibility that the Giants could offer Ramirez a two-year deal between $45-50 million.
If the Dodgers' contract offers are just a tad less money and years then Ramirez and Boras are looking for, it seems quite easy for the Giants to step in and one-up the Dodgers.
But, amongst the Giants faithful their are both those who advocate his signing and those who advocate against it. Which is most-likely the same way with members of the Giants front-office organization.
So I have decided to do what every elementary school teacher tells his/her students when they cannot decide between two ideals, make a chart of pros and cons.
- Adds a clean-up hitter to a Giants lineup that is in desperate need of a big bat.
- That big bat will provide at-least 30 HRs and 120 RBI
- Not only will signing him give the Giants' offense those big numbers, it will take away those big numbers from the Dodgers' offense
- Will take pressure of the pitching staff, specifically off Matt Cain
- His signing won't impinge on the current youth-movement
- His inflated numbers with the Dodgers were evidence that he only tries when he decides he wants too.
- He is 37
- His personality may cause problems in the club-house similar to those caused by Barry Bonds.
- Too much money
- His signing does impinge on the current youth movement
There are obviously two sides to the case of whether or not to sign Ramirez. However, the affirmative (those who want to sign Manny) side clearly has the better case, and here's why:
Four out of the five bullet points in the Pros list will most definitely occur if the Giants were to sign Ramirez. The only pro that my not happen, is his signing not impinging on the youth movement.
Manny's signing may in fact cause less playing time for the likes of Giants' outfielders Fred Lewis and Nate Schierholtz but.
Although both Lewis and Schierholtz are in their late twenties and if they were grade A prospects, would probably have been established players by now, and obviously they haven't performed to the organization's liking.
Also, the main core of the Giants' youth movement is essentially in their pitching staff and in their infield. Current youthful players on the roster include Kevin Frandsen, Pablo Sandoval, Travis Ishikawa, John Bowker, Emmanuel Burriss, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Alex Hinshaw, Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson.
All of them are either infielders or pitchers. The fact is, that the Giants don't really have a young, hot-shot outfielder on the roster or in the minors that is a marquee talent.
The Giants' current marquee prospects are Angel Villalona, Buster Posey, Connor Gillaspie, Tim Alderson, Madison Bumgarner and Kevin Pucetas. All of them are also infielders or pitchers.
So really, signing Ramirez, even to an extended contract (perhaps three years) doesn't impinge on the youth movement.
With the youth movement issue out of the way, that leaves four remaining cons. First of which is that Ramirez is going to command too much money. True, Manny and Boras are currently looking for at least a two-year deal for around $25M per year.
The Giants should be willing to pay Ramirez between $45-55 million on a two-year contract. The Dodgers offered two-years for $45 million, and Ramirez said no, so right there the Giants have a starting point to begin their two-year offers.
Now, if Ramirez is demanding either at least a four-year deal, or a three-year deal over $70 million, the Giants should pass on signing the slugger.
But money shouldn't be an issue in at-least making an offer higher than what the Dodgers have offered Manny so far.
A good amount of Giants fans are afraid of Ramirez becoming "Barry Bonds 2.0" as some fans put it. These fans are simply referring to the "Prima donna" type player who is selfish and a clubhouse tyrant. But Manny does not nearly have the same persona of Bonds.
True, he may be a tad goofy, perhaps doesn't run out ground balls, is a below average fielder, and had a public beef with the Red Sox front-office that should have been kept out of the media. But Manny was a life-saver for the Dodgers last year, he took them to the NLCS.
He helped develop guys like Matt Kemp, James Loney and Russell Martin. Manny made those guys better. Ramirez also doesn't have steroid allegations hanging over his head. Bonds on the other hand had not only steroid allegations hanging over him but he was indicted for perjury!
Saying Ramirez will be "Bonds 2.0" is a major stretch.
Another con to signing Ramirez to any sort of multi-year deal is that he is 37-years-old and the Giants have committed to a youth movement. So people question whether signing a 37-year-old makes sense when trying to move to younger players.
However, I respond to such a question by saying that making the move to younger players is because the organization thinks that the younger players perform better. That is the whole point of a youth movement, is that they will play better baseball than the old washed up veterans.
Manny Ramirez is not a washed up veteran. He is still in his prime and is still one of the dominant hitters in the game today. His age should not come into question; he is only 37. Remember what Bonds did when he was 37? He just happened to hit 73 home runs.
Lastly, some say that the staggering difference in offensive numbers with the Dodgers and Red Sox last season show that he only puts in effort when he chooses to. But seriously, Manny was still hitting over .315 for the Sox with a good amount of home runs and RBI for that point in the season.
His power numbers with Boston are still worlds better than the power numbers of anybody on the Giants' roster.
The point is, signing Ramirez is the right move. Given that he is willing to sign for no more than three years ( preferably two) and for either $50 million for two or $70 million for three, the Giants ought to make this move.
Manny will not only put up great power numbers, but his signing will take those power numbers away from the Dodgers, its a win-win.
And finally, as Herm Edwards (an NFL head coach) once said, you "play to win the game". Well, if the Giants are planning to win this season, they need to sign Manny Ramirez.
The amount of a nuisance he could be in the clubhouse is minuscule in comparison to the offense he would provide for a lineup that is in desperate need for a hitter of his exact caliber.