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What does Manny’s retirement mean for the Rays?

Apr 8, 2011, 7:24 PM EST

Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez‘s retirement has sent shockwaves through the baseball world, but it’s also left a pretty big hole in the middle of the Rays’ projected lineup.

The Rays took a calculated risk by signing Ramirez this winter, but despite his lack of production with the White Sox down the stretch last season, he still batted .298/.409/.460 with an .870 OPS over 320 plate appearances for the entire year. It was a worthwhile risk to take, especially at the bargain basement price of $2 million. Of course, the Rays are no longer responsible for his salary now that he has chosen to retire, but that doesn’t make his abrupt exit any easier to swallow.

Entering play Friday, the Rays have scored just eight runs over their first six games. They haven’t had a lead once. And they are expected to be without their best hitter Evan Longoria for at least the next two weeks with an oblique injury. They’re in deep trouble offensively, at least in the short-term.

The easy and most exciting impluse would be to call up top prospect Desmond Jennings from Triple-A Durham and stick him in left field, moving Johnny Damon to designated hitter. Then again, it’s in the best interests of the franchise for the long-term to delay his service time for a little while longer, so we probably won’t see him until some time after Memorial Day.

Following the announcement of Ramirez’s retirement, the Rays called up Casey Kotchman from Triple-A Durham, who will be the regular first baseman moving forward. Dan Johnson will become the primary designated hitter while Johnny Damon will remain in left field.

Swapping Kotchman for Ramirez is hardly exciting, but more than anything, it’s an indication that the Rays now know they don’t have the best chance to contend this season.

  1. pisano - Apr 8, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    I never liked that sob since the crap he pulled on the Red Sox, and this coming from a Yankee fan. I felt for the fans of the Sox, because with all the crap Manny pulled on the team the devoted Sox fans stayed with him as long as they could. When Boston finally had enough of this asshole dogging it in the outfield and total lack of respect for the game they had no choice but to get rid of him before his cancer spread to some of his teammates. I totally respect the Red Sox and the Fans of Boston for putting up with him for as long as they did, but baseball is better off without this cheater and I have already voted on this thread that he never gets to the hall of fame.

    • derpdederpdederp - Apr 8, 2011 at 10:19 PM

      one can only imagine what wouldve happened had the ramirez for a-rod trade gone through

      • Old Gator - Apr 9, 2011 at 2:36 AM

        The Razed were not going to contend this season with or without Manny, so it’s probably addition by subtraction as far as the team’s bottom line is concerned. They’ve now got most of two million back in the kitty and they ought to use it to trade for and extend the contract of some player who really can help them through the next couple of years while they rebuild from this past offseason’s debacle – a debacle a lot of writers who should know better soft-pedaled when they insisted this team would still find a way to be competitive this year with its cratered pitching staff, outfield and scrapheap pickups.

        But what amazes me most of all is that even Manny would be arrogant or stupid enough to take something that he could get nailed for so easily.

    • fanoredsox - Apr 9, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      I normally rag on Yankees fans any chance I get (let’s face it, ragging on each other is the best part of the Sox and Yanks rivalry), but I do respect a fan that realizes that Sox fans are just as devoted as Yankee fans. The fans didn’t deserve what Manny gave them (antics and overall public attitude) while he was there. They did win two championships but the distractions were many and constant. The Yankees have A-Rod and he brings his own distractions (off of the field), but he has never dogged it on the field. Manny represents what is wrong with prima donna players. I will say this, I’m not a Jeter fan, but the guy has always been a class act on the field and in the clubhouse.

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