Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mannywood North of the Border?


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From the inception major league baseball players begin their careers, they dream of living out their childhood dream of playing for their favourite team.

Some players are fortunate enough to eventually make it there, while others never see the bright lights of their dream destination.

I get the sense that Manny Ramirez grew up dreaming of playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. His favourite player is George Bell, and Manny has had an affliction with the city of Toronto for a long time. Heck, he was even apparently spotted shopping at the Eaton Centre last week.

Now while Manny Ramirez has dreamed of playing for the Blue Jays, the question is are the Blue Jays dreaming of having Manny play for them?

Shortly after the front office made it official and introduced John Farrell as the new manager, Manny being Manny chimed in and said he’d love to play for Farrell and the Blue Jays.

This is nothing new, as over the past several seasons there have been hints that ManRam wants to reside in Toronto. Before he signed his 2-year deal with Los Angeles, many of us drooled at the possibility of having Manny Ramirez in a Blue Jays uniform.

The problem is, that was 2 years ago. Now at 38 years old and in the latter stages of his career, Manny’s skills have diminished to the point where he would have to be relegated to the designated hitter position. Not only that, but with Scott Boras as his agent, you can be certain he’s going to attempt to pry as much money out of the Blue Jays pockets as possible.

Another thing is I don’t think Manny Ramirez is the kind of player that would put the Blue Jays over the top. Manny is not the final piece in the puzzle that would send Toronto to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years. Yes, he would be a great addition to this team and could provide a boost to the on base percentage that the Blue Jays desperately need. However, ManRam is just a temporary solution.

If the price is right and the contract is reasonable, then yes … I’m in favour of bringing Manny Ramirez to Toronto. If Alex Anthopoulos feels ManRam is part of "the plan", then go for it. In the past, the Blue Jays have spent their money in much worse ways.

But this shouldn’t be a vanity signing or anything. Let's not kid ourselves and say Manny Ramirez is going put more fans in the stands in Toronto. So let’s hold off on building the Mannywood North sign for the time being.

10 comments:

  1. If you have to be one player away from competing before you add to your team, you'll never be one player away from competing.

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  2. Torgen, fair point - I just think there are much cheaper options out there, like Branyan or even Jim Thome as you mentioned on Twitter. If the Jays were a few years down the road, I could see Alex adding Manny to the roster, but right now I just don't see it.

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  3. If the Jays are planning on seeing what Lind can do at first, I have no problem with a $5-$7 Million deal for 1 year of Manny (Assuming that Chicago doesn't offer him arb)
    He always seems to perform well in the first year that he's in a new place, and could even net us a type-a compensation pick. They may not be totally ready to go for it, but it would really highlight how far away they are. A professional hitter like Manny brings value to any organization.

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  4. 5th starter, there seems to be this stigma surrounding the Blue Jays that not many free agents view Toronto as a place to play.

    Having Manny could definitely help bolster that image, hoping that he doesn't cause any negative press.

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  5. When Manny was given away from the Red Sox, I would have given anything to get him back. I've written many times that the fear he put into an opposing manager was worth almost any amount of money. He really did make everyone else hitting around him better. David Ortiz is a more than perfect example. Now, it's a couple years later. I don't know if he still has that same fear associated with him. But, I do know that I would take him back in Boston in half a heartbeat.

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  6. If he's affordable then why not? Entertainment is the business the Jays are in. Baseball is secondary. It sounds dumb, but it's true.

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  7. Section 36, Manny was (and to a certain extent still is) a game-changer. His knack for preying on American League East pitching has served him well throughout his career. He'd also fit in really well as some lineup protection for either Jose Bautista or Vernon Wells, much how he did in Boston with Ortiz.

    Mattt, Manny would be entertaining ... no question. He comes with some baggage, but that's the risk you take when you sign a guy like that. Ultimately, a winner will bring fans to the ballpark and if he helps contribute to that, we will see an increase in attendance.

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  8. A Bautista-Manny-Wells 3-4-5 is pretty scary to me.

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  9. I'm not all that worried about the infield. Arencibia catches. He may be as quick through the strike zone as Jose. He is more than ready and we will all forget about Buck by the All Star Break.

    Don't kid yourself, Lind is at 1st. A chimp could be taught to play 1st. Jose and his game changing cannon stay in RF. Snider and Vernon also play out there every day. Move Hill to 3rd, bring back the O Dog as an FA for 2nd. And for me Manny recovered from surgery and still able to smoke the inside hard one, he's the no brainer at DH.

    What I do worry about is how well the bullpen is rebuilt. The Jays will only go as far as the bullpen performance allows, and I mean right into the playoffs if they are lights out. They really flat out mediocre under "The Cito". Go figure.

    With Walton back and Farrell calling the shots, whoever makes the big club will be light years better.

    Laugh if you want, but the 2011 team is a bigtime serious contender if they get the right arms performing in their ideal spots.

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  10. Section 36, that would be a very dangerous middle three.

    Petepuck, the outlook of the infield basically hinges on where they put Bautista. If they slot him in at third, then the Jays need an outfielder. If they slot him in at left or right field, then they need a third baseman. I'd like to see Lind at first, but they need to commit to that decision sooner rather than later.

    The bullpen is the big question mark, with Gregg/Downs/Frasor/Tallet all potentially walking away. Luckily, there are a lot of young arms in the system but they will probably need to bolster the 'pen with a couple of free agent vets out there.

    I don't doubt that the Blue Jays can contend in 2011. The problem is, they need to have all cylinders firing if they want to have a chance against New York, Boston and Tampa Bay.

    As we saw this past year, if a couple of players don't carry their weight (Hill & Lind), it can put a huge dent in the team's chances. With this group of players (not unlike what happened with the Giants this year), all the gears need to be synchronized perfectly to make it work.

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