5 Reasons Manny Ramirez Can Exceed Expectations with the Oakland A's
With Manny starting to pick it up in Triple-A Sacramento, his arrival in Oakland could come as soon as next week. When he does arrive, there will be varying expectations put upon him. Some will expect him to put up big numbers in the middle of the lineup, and others will expect nothing but another disappointing season like he had while in Chicago and Tampa Bay.
There are reasons to expect Manny to have success in Oakland, however. Of course, success is open to interpretation, but I think it's fair to say that Manny's tenure in Oakland would be a success simply if the offense as a whole improves with his arrival. Manny clearly isn't the same player he was in years past, but that doesn't mean he still can't have a big impact on Oakland's lineup.
Here are five reasons why Manny can exceed expectations in Oakland.
The Guys Hitting in Front of Him
This year is the first in many where there may actually be guys for the A's who can put up some decent numbers at the top of the lineup. Players like Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes have been stroking the ball really well thus far, and even Jemile Weeks is starting to pick up his game too.
Having runners on base while Manny is at the plate is extremely important if Manny is to have an impact in Oakland. He is only going to be as good as those in front of him.
The reason why Manny is only going to be as good as those in front of him is because of a new approach he'll be forced to take at the plate. Long gone are the days when Manny would be able to put up 30-plus home runs in a season.
With his increasing age, he now has to become more of a gap hitter, driving in runs with extra-base hits instead of relying on the long ball to knock runners in. With less power comes less home runs, but that doesn't mean his RBI total or average should suffer.
Compared to Those Hitting Behind Him, He'll Look Great
Though there may be guys in front of him that can hit, those hitting behind him really need to step up their game. Both Kurt Suzuki and Cliff Pennington are hitting below .220, while the rest of the lineup has been in constant flux the entire year.
Oakland's offense has been dormant for years now, so if Manny puts up merely mediocre numbers, they would seem great if one were to look up and down the Oakland box score.
Plenty of Rest
You can expect a fresher Manny day in and day out because he won't be expected to play every day. Expect him to get the occasional day off when right-handers are on the hill, in which case Seth Smith would take his spot in the lineup.
He also won't be asked to play the field either, which should help fight off fatigue and injuries even more as the dog days of summer come around. For an aging player this is huge. By limiting his activities he can maximize his greatest attribute—his bat—and that's all the A's really care about.
There Aren't Really Any Expectations
Right now, no one expects Manny to be the Manny of old. Signed for only the veteran minimum, there are still questions as to whether or not he'll even get out of Triple-A Sacramento.
A bad hammy has limited his production there so far, but there are signs to suggest that he's starting to pick it up, hitting safely in his last two contests. At this point, anything Ramirez does is only an added bonus for the A's. He doesn't need to blow anyone away and he won't. He merely needs to be solid and take advantage of certain situations when given the opportunity.