MLB: Manny Ramirez to the Chicago White Sox—What Can Fans Expect?
The Chicago White Sox organization is no stranger to high-priced baseball superstars, but this one may sink the ship.
White Sox No Stranger to Big Names
In 2008, the White Sox traded for Hall of Fame lock Ken Griffey, Jr.
The next season, they offered the San Diego Padres a package that would make the Queen blush for ace Jake Peavy. After the Padres declined, they claimed Alex Rios off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays; he was nice enough to bring his $70 million contract with him.
This past off-season, they brought in speedster Juan Pierre, the sure-handed Omar Vizquel, disappointing Mark Teahan, and slugger Andruw Jones. Want a pitcher? At the trade deadline, they acquired strikeout artist Edwin Jackson.
So why would this team, loaded with designated hitters and over-priced disappointments, want the laziest DH and most grossly overpaid player in the league? Only General Manager Kenny Williams truly knows the answer to that question.
Will Manny be Manny?
After Ramirez's trade to the Dodgers at the 2008 trade deadline, he was hotter than Hades. To end the season, he hit an astonishing .396 with 17 HR and 53 RBI. He was named National League Player of the Month for August, when he hit for a .415 average, nine HR, and 25 RBI.
With Mannywood postered all over the city, Dodger fans could not be happier with Manny Ramirez.
Two months after signing a two-year, $45 million contract, he was suspended by the league for violating the Performance Enhancing Drug Policy. Who would have thought a guy with over 500 home runs was taking a woman's fertility drug?
Suspensions and gimmicks aside, Ramirez can buckle down when he is needed—and the White Sox need him badly.
As of August 30, the day he is expected to join his new club, the White Sox are four and a half games back of the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins. After the streak that brought them out of the division cellar and into the playoff hunt, the team has noticeably cooled off.
What they desperately need is a pick-me-up. Kind of like the Dodgers had in 2008.
Where Will He Play?
With Pierre, Rios, and Carlos Quentin in the outfield, with Jones and Mark Kotsay splitting time as the designated hitter, there does not leave much room for the White Sox new slugger. Ramirez is much better than the current designated hitters, so Manager Ozzie Guillen will gladly place them on the bench.
However, with Ramirez's arrival, the bench will quickly become crowded with one-dimensional sluggers. The White Sox will have to designate a player for assignment or send one through waivers to clear room for Ramirez.
But when all the smoke has cleared and Manny Ramirez is in the everyday lineup, he will certainly bring a sense of humor and a big bat to a deserving ball club. Fans will either learn to love or hate his gimmicks and gaffes.
But no matter what, they can all expect a rejuvenated and championship-hungry Manny Ramirez.
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