Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The Manny Dance
By Ian Hunter
It's been a very carefully orchestrated dance this offseason between the Toronto Blue Jays and Manny Ramirez, and I think it's about time the two just got it over with and got together already.
The latest update from Jon Heyman suggests that Manny is still on the Blue Jays radar, and one could argue that's actually been the case for the past two seasons. Rosters may have changed since then, but it just feels like Manny Ramirez is the perfect fit for Toronto.
While the idea of Manny in Toronto seems like a great idea itself, the problem at hand is there are so many other working pieces to this team now that signing Manny may not jive with "the plan".
However, let's look at what happened last offseason; was John Buck part of the plan? Was Alex Gonzalez part of the plan? Was Kevin Gregg part of the plan? The resounding answer would be no.
And yet the signing of those players netted Yunel Escobar and a couple of draft picks. Buck, Gonzalez and Gregg were not part of the plan, but they were parlayed into other players who have become part of the plan.
No one has to be worried about Manny Ramirez blocking any prospects from coming up or taking at bats away from anybody else because the only player Manny would be supplanting would be Edwin Encarnacion. And at $2.5 million, it's perfectly acceptable to have EE as a bench player or fourth infielder.
I'm not trying to be naive and think that Manny in a Blue Jays uniform would bring more fans to the ballpark. I just think that rebuilding can be such a painstaking process, that you need to throw the fans a bone once in a while.
Not that the Blue Jays owe anything to the fans, but when it comes to laying the framework for a winning franchise, sometimes it's hard to see the forest through the trees. And a big doe-eyed deer like Manny Ramirez would be the perfect distraction within said forest.
If anything, signing Manny would be a love letter to the fans that would read as follows:
It might cost upwards of $5 million a season, but I'd gladly welcome Manny's career .379 OBP, 27 home runs and .940 OPS at the Rogers Centre to come play 82 games inside the dome this season.
There's no questioning that Manny Ramirez does not fit in with the long term plans of this team. However, there's nothing wrong with being entertained by his antics in the short term.