Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Waiting for Manny

Baseball free agency this year is weird.  The first round of players got signed in a timely manner and the process played out like a normal off-season.  Then something happened or rather, stopped happening.  Teams are refusing to pony up ANY money whatsoever to sign players that could help them.

The trend now in MLB is to grow your own talent within the organization.  It was such a profound trend that it led the Yankees last year to refuse to deal prospects for the best pitcher of this generation who, by all accounts, has several great years left.  Now, those prospects who were 'untouchable', will not even make the rotation this year or next.  Ask a real Yankee fan about Phillip Hughes and they might punch your mouth.

Look at this:

Bobby Abreu, Garrett Anderson, Orlando Cabrerra, Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, Ivan Rodriguez, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf, and of course, Manny Ramirez.

You're telling me that nobody wants to nut up and toss a 2 year deal for a guy that gets on base at close to a 40% clip and has had huge years outside the Bronx?  Nobody needs a 20/20 guy that scores 100 runs a year?  Memo to every team that didn't win the world series: Abreu could help you.

What about a Gold Glove 2nd baseman that hits around .300?  Oh, so you're all set with the USS Belly-ard Nationals?

We really don't get this.  The point is to win the championship and there are guys out there right now who could help teams do that but whatever.  It's like so many teams are feeding their fans horsepoop and somehow, we are eating it and asking for more.  How is this acceptable?  We need the Bureau of Fan Intervention like never before.

We're sure you all saw the news that Manny Ramirez turned down the Dodgers 1 year/$25 million offer.

Lots of columnists (like Bill Simmons: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=manny) don't understand why teams aren't clamoring to sign Manny.  These guys point to his .396 average in his time with the Dodgers, his career totals, and the 'raw deal' he got from Boston.

These guys don't get it.  Here's why with some bullet points which means that the points are valid:

-.396 just proves he was tanking in Boston.  No one thinks he's not capable.  Everyone knows he is.  It's just that Manny has entered Bondsian territory of being more trouble than he is worth.

-If you think Boras manipulated Manny and are giving him a pass (you're wrong), say you're right, what makes you think you won't have to go through something else?  Boras forcing a trade, voiding a deal and seeking a raise when the economy gets better, or any of the millions of other things that Manny does that are a nightmare for any team.

-If you think Manny will behave himself, what are you basing that on?  If you think he's motivated by personal milestones, you don't know enough things.  You don't know about how the Indians had to beg Manny not to take days off when he was chasing Hack Wilson's RBI record.  You don't know how the Tribe front office couldn't wait to be rid of the daily headache of assigning an army of attendants to make sure their professional hitter was where he was supposed to be.

-If you are one of those dudes that goes: 'Manny being Manny' then you shouldn't be allowed to have cable.  That's a press invention.  If you played sports beyond 8th grade, you know the truth.  Guys like that disrupt your team.  The rules that everyone else has to play by don't apply to a 'star' and it ruins things.  It's a fracture and it's always at the forefront, always discussed, debated, and analyzed.  You answer questions about it, you fight with your teammates about it, and you suffer because one guy isn't accountable to his teammates.  To a young team or a team that is learning how to win, this can be the kiss of death.

-If you do sign him at this point, you are getting a guy that can hit.  When will he hit?  You think he'll be a happy little soldier because you low-balled him and earned his services because no one else would?  You think this pouting, tanking, space cadet will want to show up and play hard for you?  You have to look at the whole body of work, not just the most recent.  3 months of good citizenship?  Not enough for us, at least not at that price.

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