Oh, Manny, Manny, Manny. What ever will baseball do with you?
At age 36, Manny Ramirez had a season for the ages. Spending time in Boston and Los Angeles, Manny hit a combined .332/.430/.601 with 37 HR and 121 RBI. Despite racking up just 229 NL plate appearances, he finished fourth in the league’s MVP voting, and the writers wouldn’t have been wrong had they given him the award.
With free agency looming, he seemed to be playing inspired baseball, and clearly, he was hoping for a big pay day. Well, the Winter Meetings have come and gone, and Manny is still unemployed. The Dodgers have offered him a two-year deal, and the team is prepared to wait him out. In other words, if Manny realizes that nothing will top that offer, the Dodgers will tack on a third year and call it a deal.
For his part, though, Manny will have none of it. In fact, the Manny Ramirez camp has unleashed the retirement “threat” on the baseball world. According to Ken Davidoff, sources close to Manny say the slugger would retire if no team were to offer a deal to his liking. In a line straight out of the Dugout, Manny supposedly spends his days working out, watching cartoons and playing video games.
Now, clearly, Manny isn’t going to retire. He seems rather focused on some personal milestones. Both 600 HR and 3000 hits are within his reach. But these are the antics that lead teams to stay away from Manny Ramirez. Personally, I’d love to stick Manny’s bat into the middle of the lineup. Bat him fourth of fifth behind A-Rod, and the Yanks would pummel opposing pitchers.
Then, I realize that we’d have to deal with Manny’s mood swings too. We’d have to deal with his tendency to remove himself from games at key points, his tendency to threaten retirement, his tendency to do the whole Manny being Manny thing. Is it worth it? Probably. But it’s not a shock that teams aren’t rushing to sign Manny Ramirez when his camp starts dropping the r-word as though Manny’s retirement is a threat to anyone other than Manny.