New York Mets: Life After Manny Ramirez

Phil HoopsCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 2009

It is Feb. 8 and there are merely four days until pitchers and catchers report to the Mets'' Minor League Complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Yet, there is still no sign of the future Hall of Fame Slugger, Manny Ramirez.

Is it that the team is secretly negotiating with his agent, Scott Boras? Unfortunately not. 

Is it that the Mets are holding out for him to come down to their price? Possible, but not likely.

Or is it that the team has decided to pass on him? This answer is most accurate.

While Manny Ramirez has done just about anything you could ask of a hitter to do in his career (.314 average, 527 home runs and 1725 RBI) the Mets were seemingly disinterested.

How could the Mets let such a valuable hitter slip through their fingers? The answer lies in a number of places.

The first is Manny’s attitude. When Manny wants to win, there is no doubt he will contribute to his ball club—just look at his remarkable performance with the Dodgers last season (.396 average with 17 home runs in just 53 games).

However, when he becomes discontent, he can become a rather large issue, as evident by his final days with the Boston Red Sox.

So with no Manny in the picture, the Mets will turn to the tandem of veteran Fernando Tatis and youngster Daniel Murphy to take reigns in left field this year.

While they certainly won’t be putting up Manny-like numbers, Tatis and Murphy could still pose a threat in the Mets' lineup.

Tatis, known for his impressive 1999 campaign in which he hit 33 home runs had, up until last season, not played in a major league game since his 2006 season with the Baltimore Orioles.

He proceeded to hit 11 home runs and 49 RBI. While those numbers do not sound all that impressive, it is important to take into account that many of these runs driven in were at decisive parts in the ball game.

The only concern about Tatis this season will be the health of his shoulder, which he separated towards the end of last season.

Also in the left field platoon will be 23-year-old Daniel Murphy. Murphy opened many eyes last season by hitting well over .300 in only 131 ABs.

To go along with those impressive stats, Murphy also brings a great work ethic to the game. Last season he showed us, the fans, that he was in it to win it and wasn’t interested in going out of the way to draw attention to himself.

This is exactly the kind of player the Mets need—someone who leads by example and not with their mouth.

In the end, although it won’t look as pretty on the lineup card, Tatis and Murphy will end up being just as, if not more, valuable to the Mets than three years of Manny Ramirez.