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Rangers wrong to gamble on Manny Ramirez

Jul 3, 2013, 5:51 PM EDT

Jon Daniels AP

It’s been three years since Manny Ramirez was last a worthy major leaguer, hitting .311/.405/.510 in 66 games for the Dodgers in 2010. They then shipped him to the White Sox, where he was a disappointment in 24 games, hitting .261/.420/.319.

In 2011, Ramirez signed a cheap deal with the Rays, played five games and then retired rather than face his second steroids suspension, this one for 100 games. He was arrested for domestic battery in September of that year. He later had second thoughts about retirement (not that he did much thinking about it in the first place) and attempted a comeback with the A’s in 2012, hitting .302/.348/.349 in 17 games in Triple-A before walking away again.

Now, after a successful stint in Taiwan, Ramirez is being granted another chance, this one from the Texas Rangers. He’s 41, and he’s probably no longer any sort of option in left field. For him to be useful to a major league team, he’d have to go back to hitting like he did at 38, which doesn’t seem likely.

How unlikely? Well, here are the 10 most similar players to Ramirez through age 38, according to Baseball-reference: Ken Griffey Jr., Rafael Palmeiro, Gary Sheffield, Frank Robinson, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Frank Thomas, Mel Ott, Willie Mays and Sammy Sosa. Every single one of those guys put up Hall of Fame numbers, yet only two were still going at 41. Thome had 163 at-bats last year in his age-41 season, hitting .252/.344/.442. Mays hit .250/.400/.402 in 244 at-bats for the Giants and Mets at 41. He played one more season, hitting .211/.303/.344 in 209 at-bats, before wrapping up his illustrious career.

Raul Ibanez obviously excepted, there just aren’t many good 41-year-old players. Hence, I don’t see the upside for the Rangers here. All of the Ramirez baggage would hardly be worth overlooking if Ramirez were a guaranteed 850-900 OPS. As is, he’s far, far from it. Now, sure, it’s only a minor league deal. The Rangers took no financial risk by bringing in Ramirez today. They did, though, lose the ability to take the high ground, at least for as long as Jon Daniels is running the team. The message is that winning is the only thing. Does anyone think Ramirez is a repentant cheater? That he’s full of regret? I’m not sure he even considers what he did to be cheating.

I don’t see why Daniels and the Rangers had to lower themselves this far. Better bets than Ramirez will be available in trade talks this month, and some of them might even be upstanding citizens.

  1. bendover09 - Jul 3, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    If you want to mad at a person be mad at Selig. Manny served his time , helped Taiwan baseball, was a good human figure there …. Why lower yourself to writing such a hateful article? Manny still has to make the team in the first place.

    • djpostl - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      Lol. Keep dreaming Skippy.

      That craptastic organization that at one time in the late 90′s had about 10 of 25 roster spots occupied by known roiders/people long-thought to have used shows once again that in Texass, winning is the only thing that matters.

      • bendover09 - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:26 PM

        This is year 2013 , sir. With a whole new management . Please enlighten everyone which team is innocent towards steroids?

      • tuberippin - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:13 AM

        ^You are an all-star hater.

    • Jack Marshall - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:17 AM

      “Hateful”? You’re ridiculous. It’s an accurate article, and spot-on. He’s an unrepentant cheat, and was obviously a lousy sportsman and selfish player before he was caught with steroids. This guy quit on his team, faking injuries multiple times. He struck out in a key spot in a game with division importance intentionally, out of spite. How many times has Manny been held to a single on a double, or been thrown out, because he stopped to admire a homerun that wasn’t? How many games has he lost by not hustling on the bases or in the field? How many injuries has he faked? How often has he let his team down?

      Fans like you enabled him with the “Manny being Manny” crap, and made him worse. Love the slugging, but anyone who doesn’t hate the way Manny disrespected his sport doesn’t like baseball very much.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:53 AM

        He’s so unclutch he only one ONE World Series MVP. Total loser, his whole life.

    • jlovenotjlo - Jul 4, 2013 at 4:55 AM

      I’m convinced Pouliot was drunk when he wrote this. I became convinced with the final sentence. Upstanding citizens?

      Someone should fire you Matt. You’re terrible at your job.

  2. dadawg77 - Jul 3, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    What is the cost here? What is the benefit? The only real cost is the thousands of dollars his salary will cost. The benefits are it gives the team an option even if its a long shot and probably will increase ticket sakes for your affiliate. There is little opportunity cost as it just costs a spot for a AAAA player and not a prospect. It doesn’t preclude from making any moves.

    • Jack Marshall - Jul 4, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      Wrong!

      Baseball teams, managers, GMs constantly and correctly emphasize the importance of having major league players ‘play the game the right way.’ Fundamentals. Selflessness. Discipline. Sportsmanship. Class. Team play. Manny Ramirez epitomizes the player who assumes that he can defy all of that, and have separate rules that apply only to him because he’s a “star.” Stars like Ramirez, who take advantage of their bottom line value to make equal treatment and standards in an organization impossible, rot not just sports teams but all organizations from the inside out…and they don’t care. Many of them, like Manny, are sociopaths, incapable of conscience, remorse or caring about anyone or anything other than their immediate wants and needs.

      How can a team that rewards a Ramirez for a career of refusing to play the game the right way, indeed a career of showing contempt for “the right way”, ever claim to believe in that objective? Any young player knows what the real message is—if you’re good enough and make enough runs, you can be a complete asshole. Not run out DP balls. Lie to team mates. Stiff the press. Sulk in the outfield. Fool around (like high-fiving a fan mid-play). Take a leak in the middle of an inning. Fake injuries. Talk about wanting to play for your team’s division competition. Rough up a team secretary. Strike out intentionally. Take banned drugs. Quit on your team mates. Never mind all that, though—”the right way” doesn’t matter if you’re good enough.

      Well, that’s bullshit, and every leader or organizational manager with half a brain knows it. Eventually that hypocrisy kills efficiency and discipline, just as it left its scars on the Red Sox, culminating in the leadership collapse in 2011.

      With Manny it isn’t just the drugs; I think he disqualified himself for the Hall of Fame long before that by trying to throw a game against the Yankees, not for a bribe, like the Black Sox, but to force the Red Sox to let him seek a better contract, and to spite them. That’s worse, in my book.

      No risk? By signing Manny, the Rangers risk undermining any credibility with other players when they say “don’t cheat, hustle, work hard, play team ball.” A few thousand dollars? Any use of that money would be more responsible. Build an inner city baseball program. Buy some gloves and bats for African American kids to get them off the B-ball courts. Throw the money down the toilet, but don’t use it to reward Manny Ramirez for setting a destructive example.

      • Alex K - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        The only thing MLB teams really care about is winning. That is all they have ever cared about. This is just a team signing a player to see if he can help.

        It’s crazy talk to pretend that Manny had anything at all to do with the Red Sox 2011 season. He hadn’t been on the team for 2.5 years at that point. What kind of magic powers do you think he has?

        It’s fun to pile on Manny because it’s so very easy. But to pretend that a minor league signing of an old player is going to rot an organization or undermine their authority with young players is way over the top.

  3. jayscarpa - Jul 3, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    He beats on women and old men and quit on his team in the middle of a season. Steroids is the least of his sins.

    • byjiminy - Jul 3, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      Not getting the thumbs down here. These are all documented facts.

      • paperlions - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:30 PM

        Miguel Cabrera beat his wife and quit on his team too, he spent an entire playoff series drunk off his ass. What’s your point?

      • djpostl - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:39 PM

        That Miggy is as big a piece of shit human being as Manny? No argument here.

        But hey…MLB still has squat on the penal colony of pro sports known as the NFL.

  4. knowlegeforyou - Jul 3, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Manny will get mixed reviews, but the Rangers need a backup option for in case Berkman’s knees fall off. I see no harm, and yes, Manny does have some upside. This is a poorly written, one sided article

    • offseasonblues - Jul 3, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      One of the risks with Manny is that the day Berkman’s knees fall off is the day Manny won’t feel like playing.

    • Jack Marshall - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:22 AM

      You mean he didn’t cover the “A two time drug cheat who quit on three teams, never could field or run, daydreams and fart around on the field, can’t hit any more and only behaves when he needs a new contract is a great investment” side?

    • jlovenotjlo - Jul 4, 2013 at 4:54 AM

      I could not have said it better myself. Should the Rangers be worried about some nonsensical “image”, or be worried about winning a pennant. They’re going to be paying him peanuts and seeing if he can go back to being a decent hitter.

      This website comes out with a lot of trash, but this ranks higher than usual. Pouliot, the fact that NBC pays you to write articles is really a knock on NBC, the same morons who lost Conan O’Brien while continuing to pay him 20m a year.

  5. coloradogolfcoupons - Jul 3, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Daniels is insane. He looks at what Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter are doing for Baltimore and wonders why he thought Uehara…who didn’t even make their post-season roster…was worth two promising players with this kind of potential. Maybe Daniels thinks this bone-headed move will take the attention from that all-time-bad trade, which looked bad then and absolutely hideous today.

    • Alex K - Jul 3, 2013 at 7:06 PM

      So you knew Chris Davis was going to break out? Were you slamming the trade when it happened? I think both of those things are false. The trade didn’t look bad when it happened because no one knew Davis was going to start making as much contact as he has.

    • mattryannolan - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:14 PM

      This is literally the stupidest thing I have ever read. If you knew ANYTHING you would know that those guys had their chances here in Texas and sometimes things just don’t work out. Guys need changes of scenery. I mean Daniels must be dumb for making trades to get Cruz, Hamilton(bad ending but you can’t deny his contribution to the Rangers success), Andrus, Feliz, Harrison, and even Cliff Lee FOR NEXT TO NOTHING. Not to mention signing Beltre and having a talented group around him to scout talent like Profar and Moreland and TONS of others.

      So it is not Daniels who insane here, it’s you! He signed Manny to a minor league deal this is so LOW RISK it’s unreal.

      • djpostl - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:41 PM

        Might be low risk but it’s also low class.

      • mattryannolan - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:42 PM

        How? I’m not trying to be a jerk I just want to know the reasoning.

  6. goawaydog - Jul 3, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Maybe they just want to sell more triple A tickets.

  7. Alex K - Jul 3, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    This is a hack piece. Is your nose bleeding from way up there on your high horse, Matthew? Way to moralize steroid use in baseball.

    • Jack Marshall - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:24 AM

      Yeah, saying that something that is wrong IS wrong is really over the line.

      • tuberippin - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:18 AM

        ^So wrong that it’s been done by EVERY GENERATION OF BALLPLAYER SINCE THE GAME’S CREATION. It’s a part of the game. Deal with it.

      • Alex K - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:07 AM

        Saying that the Rangers “lost the ability to take the high ground” is ridiculous. They signed a player for peanuts to see if he could help them. He acts like any baseball team has ever made it about anything but winning.

        I understand that some people think steroids are the worst thing ever, but moralizing them is over the top.

        I never said Manny was a good person (steroids aren’t the reason he’s a scumbag), but he has served his punishment and should be allowed to play if someone gives him a contract.

  8. charlutes - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    A shortsighted article. There’s nothing to lose. If he sucks, oh well. Every team in baseball has multiple sucky hitters, they can drop him. If he hits well, smart move. This is the thing about writers, they act like every move a GM makes is brilliant or idiotic, when really life is more circumstantial, and kicking the tires on a once great hitter is par for the course. It’s just as dumb to call the GM a genius if Manny does work out. It doesn’t take much deep thinking to give Manny another shot at MLB pitching.

    • djpostl - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:43 PM

      I think you need to bone up on your reading comprehensions skills.

      Entire point of the piece was a whole lot less about anything on the field versus the absolute lack of class/credibility the signing represents.

      So yes, even if he doesn’t hit the Rangers lose.

      The only way they can escape the cred hit is if somehow the assclown reverts to old form and knocks the cover off the ball long enough for everyone to forget what a Grade A piece of crap human being he is.

      • Jack Marshall - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:25 AM

        Precisely. The amazing part is that so many people here think that accepting millions of dollars and being a crap human being is cute.

  9. paperlions - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Just curious, does this make the Rangers the biggest dipwads in MLB?

  10. mkd - Jul 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I like how .420 OBP = disappointing. Yeah his power dried up, but c’mon, a .420 OBP is, you know, awesome.

    • nbjays - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:12 AM

      Small sample size much?

  11. captainloaded - Jul 3, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    I’m no genius but how is it a gamble signing a player to a minor league contract? You can throw numbers and the degradation of his play….but it is still a minor league contract. He still has to earn his playing time, it will not be given to him. It’s not a gamble in my eyes. It’s a bonus if it works. BTW….I’m not a Manny fan.

    • Jack Marshall - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:27 AM

      If you hire Manny, you endorse his conduct, which has been unprofessional, selfish, dishonest and disloyal. Why is that so hard to get?

      • tuberippin - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:20 AM

        ^Because every team has douchebags on their roster. No team is immune to that.

      • captainloaded - Jul 4, 2013 at 5:01 AM

        Like I said, I’m no Manny fan. I don’t like the guy. But it is a MINOR league deal. If it’s Manny being Manny in the minors, he’ll never see a major league roster. Again, this is why I don’t see it as a gamble. He has to earn his way back to a major league roster.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:56 AM

        And everyone who buys a Ford Escort endorses every word of the Dearborn Independent.

        People are complicated. Manny Ramirez was not signed to a minor-league contract based on his character, but his ability to hit baseballs.

  12. rcali - Jul 3, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    And Julio Franco sits by the phone………

  13. smoothaswilkes - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    wow. pull the stick out of your butt. what, did manny kill your dog or something?

    • Jack Marshall - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:28 AM

      Wow. And Manny’s excuse for cheating was “its not like I killed someone.” You and he like the same unethical rationalizations. I wouldn’t hire you, either.

  14. jsally430 - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    who?

  15. beerjunkie - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    Paperlions is HUGE DOUCHE BAG on these boards. What a f-tard in ALL his posts. LOSER.

    • nbjays - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:10 AM

      In his defense, Paperlions makes some very intelligent, thoughtful posts. He knows baseball and knows what he is talking about.

      You? Not so much.

    • abaird2012 - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Wow … what brought THAT on?

  16. beerjunkie - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:31 AM

    Hey? Jack Marshall… SEA YOU IN TEA.

  17. coryfor3 - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:23 AM

    Don’t let Craig see this.

  18. beerjunkie - Jul 4, 2013 at 4:23 AM

    tuberippin, go back to stealing a feel of you older sisters titties. Schlong lover.

    • nbjays - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:10 AM

      Stay classy…

  19. bringbackkosar - Jul 4, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Did I wander onto the PFT message board by mistake? How about cleaning this up Craig so it doesn’t become a junior-high school locker room? Reasonable minds can disagree, but if I want ignorance and potty mouth I can just watch network TV

  20. straightouttavtown - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Contrary to what the hack writer wrote, Manny doesn’t have to post a .850 to .900 OPS at this point of his career to be useful. Considering Berkman only has a .750 OPS as the everyday DH, Manny doesn’t have to set Arlington on fire to outproduce him, or at least duplicate Berkman’s production as the DH in case Puma goes down. Just a cheap insurance policy

  21. stlouis1baseball - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Low…low risk…with an incredibly high reward.
    Why is this so hard to understand? Seriously? Wrong to gamble? What’s the gamble?

    Signed,
    Someone who has loathed Manny Ramirez since he got in the league.

  22. darro18 - Jul 7, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    There’s very little risk in this move. I’d like to see what he has left. Reports have said that he has changed his attitude. I read that he was in the middle of an interview and stopped answering questions so that he could stretch with his teammates. In the past he probably would not have done that. Besides, if he makes it to the majors I imagine Beltre will be on his ass if he’s a distraction.

    As far as Jon Daniels I think it’s funny people still question the moves he makes. In the offseason people said he “missed out” on Hamilton and Greinke. Check out their stats so far this year and you’ll see he didnt miss out on anything. He doesn’t throw money away, he waits for the right players. Teams would love to have players like Beltre, Darvish, Andrus, Harrison, Cruz, Murphy, Martin etc. I’d trust his judgement rather than question it. As said, there’s no risk with the Ramirez signing, so enough bashing just wait and see.

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