MLB Holiday Shopping Guide Part 2: The Manny Vs CC Debate

Greg CookseyCorrespondent INovember 10, 2008

Your favorite team has the money to spend and is looking to bring in a big-name free agent to help bolster the team. Of course, the two big names this year are Manny Ramirez and CC Sabathia.

Some general managers lick their chops at the thought of trying to get both. But then the owner steps in like a mother who sees her son's expensive Christmas list and tells him "I can only afford one of the big, expensive items you asked for." Disappointed, the GM has to weigh the pros and cons of both Manny and CC, and make the best decision as to who best fits the team. That is, if they can convince either CC or Manny to come play for them at all.

So, in this edition of the Holiday shopping guide, let's see if we can make some cases both for and agianst CC and Manny weighing pros and cons. Then, hopefully you can decide if they are the right guys for you team.

CC Sabathia

The Good

He is a Cy Young award winner who could give you Cy Young award-winning quality starts to your pitching staff. He's a great club house guy who wants to step in and be a leader.

On the field (believe it or not), he is a workhorse. When he is on, he can really eat up innings. And once he starts to strike guys out, opponents should prepare for a long night.

When healthy, he is still going to get you close to 20 wins a season. Not too bad if you are looking for quality starts from an ace. He seems willing to try to elevate his game to a new level to help his team win now more than ever. He brings passion and emotion on the field. He is also a bonus for a national league team in that he can flat out mash a baseball.

The Bad

While he is a Cy Young award winner who gives you quality starts, who really knows if he is a leader in the truest sense of the word? Whether he can be remains to be seen. You would have to ask guys who have been in a club house with him about that first. Teammates really seem to like him, but that does not make him a leader.

There have been times in the past where weight and health issues have come into play. He had problems in the past with reporting to training camp overweight. As a consequence, he missed significant time with injuries, specifically to his pitching shoulder.

Sometimes his emotions get the best of him. You have to consistently bring your A-game to the ballpark. Because if you don't, and your team is prone to making the occasional  mistake, he tends to wear his emotions on his sleeve while on the mound.

I remember a game during the '06 season when he became frustrated because his team failed to get a third out and admittedly quit. He may not have had that big of a meltdown since, but you can tell when he is frustrated.

Over-competitiveness is also an issue. It's great he wants to start what he finishes, but he needs to understand he cannot pitch nine innings an outing, the season is just too long for him to do so.

Lastly, he has not taken his game to the next level. Sure, he has pitched in the playoffs before, but has not fared well, having terrible records that last few times he has pitched in a playoff game. Teams at this point (and I stress at this point, since it could change) should not think that they are getting number quality ability in a playoff scenario. That is something Sabathia has to prove he is worthy of first.

The Final Word On CC

He is by far the best option available for a team seeking a big-name pitcher to help shore up their pitching staff for a run at the playoffs, or even to anchor a young team on the brink. However, buyer beware, Sabathia is not going to come cheap, and he definitely has his shortcomings. And come playoff time could, he could become somewhat of a liability. That said, however, he remains a solid buy.

Manny Ramirez

The Good

A power bat that you could plug into your lineup early and reap the benefits of. The guy's a professional hitter. In situations when you really need a hit or a RBI, he is money. Oh yeah, and he can hit the long ball too.

Run production is not a problem with this guy. He genuinely loves to play the game, and is a guy who can be an example for younger players (again, believe it or not). In many of their eyes, he's a a living legend.

He also has a cannon for an arm, something undoubtedly useful in left field. Also, injuries are not generally a problem with him. He also has a couple of rings, so winning is not something he is unfamiliar with.

The Bad

When he is not on the field, it would appear that Manny does not have the most brilliant mind. He has a reputation for doing things that just don't make sense, hence the creation of the phrase "that's just Manny being Manny."

As a team, you better keep him happy, or else he may cause problems (as evidenced by his apparent fallout in Boston). That was not really something that he showed in Cleveland. He just took the money and ran when he left the Indians.

His defense is not like his offense. Manny does do some spectacular things on defense, but appears in SportsCenter highlights for just as many bad mistakes as good plays.

The Final Word On Manny

It's not what he does on the field that is the problem, but rather what he does when he is off it. Signing him to a long term deal could be a mistake because it involves knowing how to make him happy for a long period of time.

If you are a contender and you need power, you will want him in your lineup because he's a surefire offensive spark. Like him or not, his power and experience is something any team can benefit from.

So what do you think? Both guys are great for a team trying to win, they both bring intangibles and experience that a winning team needs, and both just want to win. One thing is for sure; you better have the money to give them they pay day they want. Your team's future could depend on it!