Monday, August 4, 2008

Manny with an interlocking NY

Could it actually happen? Could Manny Ramirez be manning left field or DH for the Yankees next season? It's an interesting question to ponder, so we will.

Most Yankees fans don't hate Manny. They may hate his posturing during home runs, his poor play in left field or his slovenly look, but most get a chuckle at his antics. At least that was true until his recent immature behavior that got him exiled from Boston.

Manny's entire goal was to have his team options for 2009 and 2010, at $20 mill a pop, dropped so that he could become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Had Boston stupidly agreed to it, Manny would still be wearing a Red Sox uniform. Instead, GM Theo Epstein and company got what they could for him, a very good player in Jason Bay.

So Manny will finish out 2008 in the city that always sleeps and will test the free agent waters after the season. And that's when debate will kick in big time as to whether the Yankees or Mets should try to sign the Man-child.

Manny grew up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and is obviously familiar with the intensity of the AL East. The Mets have a large Latin American contingent which would probably be favorable to him. For now though, let's just concentrate on the team with the true Pinstripes.

Manny will probably be looking for, a minimum, 5 years of guaranteed money. No small feat, considering he will turn 37 next May. His numbers in 2007, .881 OPS, 20 HR, 88 RBI, were well below his career numbers. He also missed 29 games with assorted ailments.

His numbers have been modest this season. He suffered through a miserable May, and hasn't hit more than 6 home runs or driven in more than 17 runs in a single month. It's possible he may go on a huge tear the rest of the season now that he's more motivated on a personal level. But his .926 OPS is the second lowest of his career, with last year's total being his rock bottom.

Don't get us wrong, .926 is still very good and he's on pace for a 33 home run and 106 RBI season. The home run total is still good, but the level of RBI is much less than Manny's usual standard.

With the exception of 2004-2005, when he averaged 44.5 home runs and 137 RBI, Manny's home run and RBI total have been on the decrease. He's also missed 61 games the prior 2 seasons and was bothering by hamstring, knee, and "mental" issues this season.

Manny is still a feared hitter though and the prospect of batting him in front of or behind Alex Rodriguez is very intriguing. A 3-year, $45 million deal is certainly in range to us, but we feel Manny will be seeking a minimum 5-year, $100 million deal. If that's the case he can take his dreadlocks elsewhere.

Manny would probably also be best served by a move back to the original outfield position, right field, that he played with the Indians. Left field is much too expansive for Manny to cover properly.

If the Yankees were to sign him, it could possibly mean trying to deal Johnny Damon and the one year left on his contract. Dealing Hideki Matsui is probably a foregone conclusion.

So there you go. We've tossed a bunch of info at you. We would sign him, but to no more than a 3-yr, $45 million deal. What do you think? Would you want Manny's bat along with his sometimes free spiritedness, lack of hustle, and poor fielding? It's all part of the package they call Manny. Fill it our new poll and let us know.

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