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What’s the right price for Manny Ramirez?

Nov 27, 2010, 12:12 PM EDT

Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics Getty Images

We’re not sure where Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford will end up just yet, but most of us can agree that both will likely cross the $100 million threshold. As for the future of Manny Ramirez, you’ll get a different take from just about everybody.

One day after suggesting that Ramirez may have to accept a base salary of $800,000 with incentives, Buster Olney of sought opinions from a host of talent evaluators, scouts, executives and general managers. Here’s what one “NL evaluator” had to say:

“I could see him getting $2-3 million base with incentives that could earn him between $5-10 million. The other thing is, this is a guy who is so obstinate and kooky, he may decide if he doesn’t get the deal he likes he just won’t play.”

If a bunch of teams are only offering him $800,000 guaranteed, I wouldn’t blame him. The thing is, it would be their loss. Sure, Ramirez turns 39 next May, was hurt an awful lot this past season and his bat looked pretty slow during his time with the White Sox, but he still managed to hit .298/.409/.460 with an 870 OPS. Not too shabby.

Considering that the average American League DH hit a modest .252/.332/.426 in 2010, Ramirez looks like a potential bargain, even in the midst of his decline.

  1. andrewkw - Nov 27, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Manny in Toronto, my conern is not with him it’s that Adam Lind wouldn’t really be a better fielder then Manny if he can’t DH.

    Something along the lines of 3-5 million seems more reasonable. Look at what Vlad and Matsui got last year. For incentives something that lets him reach 7-8 million if he plays 120 games with similar production as last year and something along the lines of 10-12 if he does even better.

  2. Jeremiah Graves - Nov 27, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    If I were the Twins or Rays, I’d take him as an insurance policy.

    The Twins could use someone around to club on the off-chance that Morneau doesn’t come all the way back from the concussions and there is a very good chance Jim Thome gets more money for a bigger role somewhere else. Manny would provide the right-handed punch that Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young just can’t quite muster and would be a solid platoon DH partner with Jason Kubel. Plus he isn’t any worse in left field than Delmon Young, so what the hell, right?!

    As far as Tampa Bay goes, they figure to lose a lot this offseason, but Desmond Jennings should help pick up the slack in the outfield and hopefully at the top of the order, a return to form by Ben Zobrist would work wonders as well. If they could land Manny to DH and someone like Lance Berkman to play first base, they’d be in pretty good shape. Both guys figure to be taking steep discounts this offseason and Tampa is cutting salary, so why not get two veterans who are big bounce back candidates and figure to sign at incentive-laden, team-friendly prices?!

    I realize Manny can be a cancer, but he is in a contract drive, so that helps and figures to keep him motivated. Put him on a winner and the chances increase exponentially. It makes more sense for the Twins or Rays to make the push, since they both figure to be closer to contending than say the Athletics or Blue Jays. If Manny is the missing piece, why not go for it, especially at a discount.

    • buddaley - Nov 27, 2010 at 5:18 PM

      I think you make excellent points. I will quibble with one tangential point you make, that Manny can be a cancer.

      He was with the Indians from 1993-2000. From 1995-1999, Cleveland won its division every year. In 3 of those seasons, they won 100, 99 and 97 games and got to the World Series once.

      He was in Boston for 7 years during which the Red Sox got to the post-season 4 times, winning the World Series twice and winning over 90 games five times.

      He spent two full seasons with the Dodgers during both of which the LA came in first place in its division.

      I do not mean to say he was the cause of those successes, but unless someone thinks those teams would have done even better, it is clear he did not hinder their success. If cancer means he can garner a lot of media attention or become the focus of controversy, I will not argue it. But if it means he impedes a team’s chances of winning, I don’t think the record supports that notion.

      I know he was accused of quitting in Boston and left LA under a cloud as well. Perhaps these days the danger is greater, but I have little confidence in those reports no matter how common they have become. What I do see is that wherever he has played during his illustrious career, teams have won.

      And unrelated to your post, the ignorance and viciousness of those who refer to steroids whenever they can is frightening and insidious in its effects. Those who have fostered such hysteria belong in the lowest ring of the inferno.

      • uyf1950 - Nov 28, 2010 at 8:05 AM

        To buddaley – Not to correct you. But Manny played most of the 2008 season with Boston and part of the 2010 season with the White Sox. He only played one full season with the Dodgers (2009). Although you can certainly attribute much of the Dodgers success in 2008 in making the playoffs to the short time he was there.

      • buddaley - Nov 28, 2010 at 9:44 AM

        Thank you. You are, of course, correct. It was sloppy of me. But as you say, he certainly contributed to the Dodgers’ winning the division in both 2008 and 2009. And while he spent only some time in Boston in 2008, I think it fair to credit him as helping set them up to make the playoffs there as well despite the unhappy leave taking.

  3. scatterbrian - Nov 27, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    But is as obstinate and kooky as that Jermaine Dye character?

  4. pisano - Nov 27, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    How about car fare to the South Bronx for retirement.

  5. aious - Nov 27, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Ever since he was caught with PED’s, he has become an absolutely terrible hitter. He has no power anymore. He is worth little if anything

    • Jeremiah Graves - Nov 27, 2010 at 3:45 PM

      An absolutely terrible hitter?!

      Dude still put up a .298/.409/.460/.870 batting line last year. That’s not too shabby and you’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of teams that couldn’t have used that sort of production somewhere in their lineup.

      I don’t think he’s ever going to be quite the feared slugger he once was and I’d be shocked to see him hit 30+ homers again, but I still think he can be a good weapon, especially with his plate discipline.

      If he can get his legs healthy and under him again, it might help him get back to driving the ball, rather than slapping singles. The dude is definitely worth a one-year, incentive-laden deal for someone.

      People said Frank Thomas was washed up before the A’s signed him in 2006, they said Vlady Guerrero was washed up before the Rangers signed him last offseason.

      Manny is definitely worth a one-year deal to someone.

      • alara07 - Nov 28, 2010 at 3:49 PM

        Actually Jeremiah, it is shabby considering he hit .261 with 1 homerun and 2 RBI with Whitesox in 24 games VS. 17 Home runs, 53 RBI, .396Avg. OBP.489 SLG.743 ops1.232 in 53 games in the 2008 season with dodgers. NO JUICE NO PRODUCTION. He is done.

      • buddaley - Nov 28, 2010 at 4:05 PM

        So, Alara07, you are using 88 plate appearances in the same year that in 232 PAs he hit .311/.405/.510 to claim that he is done?! I wonder if it is possible to find 88 PAs of any other hitter-let’s say Ruth, Mays, Williams, Pujols-with similarly poor stats but whose career continued to be outstanding?

        I think it possible, even likely, that Manny is in decline and that age is catching up to him. (I cannot stoop to respond directly to the baseless and stupidly vicious suggestions about PEDs.) But he seems to have retained his ability to get on base; even in Chicago, despite his lack of power and unusually poor BA, his OBP was .420 in that small sample. Observers disagree on details, but most seem to think he still can contribute at the plate even if his power is no longer elite.

      • alara07 - Nov 29, 2010 at 12:05 PM

        Buddaley, First comment about stupidly vicious suggestions about PEDs, to correct you they are not suggstions when you base on facts(read this article Second fact is that after allstar game Manny hit .244 1 HR 3 RBI. Third fact is that his power is not what it was even as of 2009 season, In 2010 he hit his 8th homerun on Jun. 19 and did not hit his 9th homerun unitl Sep. 17th. I will not discredit that he is one of the greatest Right handed hitters of our time, But in my opinion he is done.

  6. Jack Marshall - Nov 27, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    Is ANY player capable, at any time, of faking an injury, dogging it to first, loafing after a fly, intentionally striking out or getting himself thrown out of a game because he didn’t feel like playing, worth a 2 million dollar contract? People who just cite numbers to assess Manny are missing the point. An asset you can’t rely on is no asset at all.

    • buddaley - Nov 28, 2010 at 6:30 AM

      Do you mean players like Babe Ruth who jumped his team more than once? Or Mantle who appeared hung over at ball games? Or Willie Mays who was penalized for not running out a pop fly that was caught in fair territory and for loafing after a ball that got by him in the outfield? Perhaps you mean someone like Roberto Clemente who was regularly accused of being soft because of his complaints about what many considered phantom injuries. Or Carl Yastrzemski or Roger Maris who Jim Bouton said were among the laziest ballplayers in his era? (Or perhaps you think Bouton is not as reliable a source as the Boston columnists or team spokespeople are today.)

      I don’t excuse Manny or any of the myriad ball players for lack of effort. But I also think the condemnation is exaggerated and the interpretations overheated. It is possible that Manny is at the point in his career where his incidents, if indeed they were reported fairly about which I am dubious, outweigh his value. But to this point they have clearly not. Wherever he has been, he has produced and his teams have won.

      • buddaley - Nov 28, 2010 at 6:41 AM

        “The “Manny quit on Boston” narrative is blatantly untrue; he had a .398 wOBA with the Sox that year, and hit .407/.500/.712 (.480 wOBA) in the weeks leading up to the trade. If only every player would quit on his team like that. Yeah, Ramirez has had more than his fair share of off-the-field issues that have occasionally spilled over into his on-the-field effort, but he was a baseball mashing machine.”
        Just after posting, I read this at River Avenue Blues. I consider it a balanced appraisal. Incidentally, it is part of a posting by the site that opposes the Yankees signing him, but for reasons other than “character”.

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