You could argue that Ramirez should return to the Dodgers for 2009 and beyond, given his success in 119 at bats (.403/.500/.748). But we have to face the facts that most players go for the money. That means, for me, that there’s a pretty good chance Ramirez will end up in pinstripes next year. Especially given that there’s going to be extra pressure in New York to win in 2009.
I like Ramirez in New York for two reasons. First, he’s an elite player – one of the game’s best five hitters and future Hall of Famer. Bottom line is that he produces. Bundle Ramirez with Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui, and you have the game’s best line-up.
Second, Ramirez in New York would be great drama. It would take the Boston – New York rivalry to a whole new level, and I wouldn’t miss a game.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard analysts suggest that the Yanks pursue Manny Ramirez this off-season. In fact, we wrote about the very same idea in early August, and while Peter Gammons doesn’t believe Manny will be Bronx-bound, this story just won’t go away.
Now, while Pags has been known to be wrong — Kei Igawa, anyone? — his ideas actually make a lot of sense. First, the Yankees will have oodles of money to throw around next year, and while Manny isn’t a spring chicken, it’s nigh impossible to find a better hitter than he will be on the free agent market. He’ll also command fewer years than Mark Teixeira, the only other comparable offensive player.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have to keep the outfield warm when and if Austin Jackson is ready to play. They have Johnny Damon or perhaps Melky — who has yet to play since being recalled last week — for center. They have Xavier Nady for one of the corner slots. And if it’s a choice between overpaying Bobby Abreu or Manny Ramirez for three or four years, Manny is the far superior choice, differences in age notwithstanding.
In the end, this is probably nothing more than idle musings from idle minds attempting to quote-unquote fix the Yankees. But if Manny Ramirez didn’t carry the baggage of being the Manny Ramirez, he would be an obvious target for the Yankees this off-season whether we like to admit it or not.