Manny Ramirez: 10 Pitchers We'd Love to See Ramirez Face in 2012
This time a month ago it was expected that Manny Ramirez would be manning the middle of the A's lineup. Well it's been over a week since Manny was eligible for reinstatement and the aging slugger still finds himself in Triple-A Sacramento, playing against teams like the Tacoma Rainiers.
This is due in part to two factors that have held him out of recent contests, the first of which is his play. His current .243 average in Sacramento isn't convincing anyone that he's ready for the big leagues. The other issue holding him out of the lineup is tightness in his left hamstring, probably due in part to the amount of time between baseball activities this year.
Should Ramirez actually reach Oakland it'll be interesting to see what he has left in the tank, and just how much of an impact he can have on a team that's desperate for more steady offense. Manny has his fair share of experience with the American League, so certain games and opposing pitchers should make certain at-bats far more interesting than others.
Here are 10 matchups that will be interesting to watch should Manny reach Oakland this year.
There were many big names signed this offseason in the AL West. For Oakland it was Manny Ramirez, for Texas it was their Japanese import Yu Darvish, and the two players couldn't be more different.
Darvish is young and possesses at least six different pitches, all of which are delivered from a distinctly Japanese windup. Ramirez, on the other hand, still uses the same batting stance that he had when he arrived in the big leagues over 15 years ago.
Darvish is the newest phenom in the MLB right now, and Ramirez has been a mainstay for almost two decades, so when East meets West it should make for a very interesting battle.
Though both of these guys aren't the same kind of players they were in years past, they're still two polarizing figures that helped Boston win their first World Series in 86 years.
They haven't squared off in years, and regrettably the next matchup won't happen in Boston, but there is still a ton of baseball history between these two players. Both are borderline Hall of Famers and proven winners throughout their careers. If Manny does face the Sox and Beckett one more time it would essentially represent him facing a major part of his professional career and legacy.
Watching Verlander pitch on any occasion is a treat, but watching him face Ramirez would probably be the best barometer to see just how much Manny has left in the tank.
It's no secret that Verlander possesses probably the best fastball in the game, and Ramirez was always known for his bat speed over his career. Seeing Manny go up against Verlander would tell just how quick his bat still is and how successful he can still be.
Manny's approach may still be great, but there are some things experience just can't help you with.
A lot has changed since Manny left the AL and headed west to Los Angeles, and even more so since he left the Dodgers. Since then there's a new big man on campus in L.A., and that's Jered Weaver.
No-hitter winner and absolute stud, Weaver has electric stuff and has just dominated opposing hitters over the past two seasons. Unfortunately for the Angels, their ace Weaver just went down with a back injury.
Unfortunately for opposing hitters, it doesn't appear as though the injury is particularly serious which means a Weaver-Ramirez matchup would happen eventually should Manny return to the bigs.
If this matchup is to happen, then Manny needs to get his act together soon, because the next and final time the A's face the Giants is in only two weeks. Lincecum isn't exactly the pitcher he's been in the past right now, but watching a guy as unorthodox as Lincecum go up against someone as old school as Manny is always an interesting contrast.
Lincecum still is the most recognized Giant, and Manny is still a fresh face in Oakland, so if Manny wants to make a good first impression on A's fans, doing well against the crosstown rivals would be a good step in that direction.
Though the days of Manny playing for Boston are long gone, there still seems to be some disdain for Ramirez when it comes to the Yankees fanbase. Whenever Manny finds himself playing in Yankee Stadium there is always an added energy. Even if it's hatred it still makes for a better and more exciting atmosphere.
Sabathia is without question the Yankees best pitcher, and the two have had their fair share of battles. By now the two are extremely familiar with one another and a matchup would be more like a duel than an at-bat. In the end, it would probably be Sabathia who gets the better of Ramirez, but I'm sure Manny would connect on at least one offering that day.
The way Manny ended things in Tampa Bay was very abrupt and probably not the best way to go about it. His time as a Ray was extremely brief to say the least, and I'm sure the Tampa Bay organization and fanbase hasn't forgotten about it.
Tampa also happens to have one of the game's best pitchers in David Price who would probably love the opportunity to get a little revenge on Ramirez for how he ended things with the club. The A's go to Tampa in late August, and you can bet that if Manny's active he'll hear nothing but cow bells every time he steps near the plate.
When Manny left Boston for Los Angeles, he did do some good things for the Dodgers. These good things may not have lasted all that long, but he did perform well for them early during his tenure there.
Unfortunately, this matchup wouldn't happen in Los Angeles, but the reigning NL Cy Young Award and Triple Crown winner is just as exciting regardless of what mound he's pitching from. Still only 24, the young lefty has a career ERA under 3.00 and is well on his way to dominating the game for the next 10 years, maybe more.
Seeing such a young pitcher who's sure to become one of the game's greatest pitchers face off against one of the greatest hitters ever would be a nice reminder of what the game was, and where it's heading.
This one is just purely from a fan's perspective and has absolutely no underlying meaning behind it. Simply put, King Felix is one of the most electrifying pitchers we have in today's game, and seeing the two Latin American stars square off would make for something special.
Possessing an overpowering fastball and a wide array of complimentary yet deadly off-speed pitches, the former Cy Young Award winner is arguably the best pitcher born outside the U.S. right now. Ramirez, on the other hand, is in the later stages of his career, but he's still one of the craftiest and most experienced hitters around.
If the two were to face each other, it would be a matchup between one of the best Latin American stars to ever play the game and one who's destined to join him in those ranks.
Obviously this dream scenario isn't going to happen this year, but there's no denying one last meeting between these two would've made for an amazing end to Ramirez's career. Who knows, depending on how well Manny does this season and knowing Rivera's competitive nature, a potential matchup next season isn't completely out of the question.
These two were the faces of the Yankees and Red Sox, respectively, for a long time, so one final faceoff would've been a fitting conclusion to Manny's long, storied career.