Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Manny Dance

By
Will they or won't they?

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:
A couple of Scott Boras' clients have already signed lucrative one-year contracts to re-establish their value, so I can't see why Boras wouldn't want Manny Ramirez to do the same. Especially in a city that Manny is extremely fond of in the first place, and for a manager he has a great relationship with.

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.

26 comments:

  1. At the beginning of the off season I was so against signing Manny because I figured he would come at $10M. That and I can't stand his antics. But now that the market has come down and it seems feasible to get him for $5-7M, I don't hate it as much. I don't care if we take at bats away from EE, he is a power bat off the bench which is okay with me. I would rather have Manny than Damon or Podsednik, as I read last night the Jays are interested.

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  2. Rob, I was the exact same way: if the price was low and he wasn't preventing anybody from coming up, by all means sign Manny to a small contract.

    Now as the offseason progresses and the price begins to come down, I say the Jays should just go for it. Maybe it's me just being selfish, but I think it would make 2011 very interesting to watch.

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  3. I agree in that it would be fun to watch Manny play, but I think the right move is to let Encarnacion play everyday and see if he can have a Jose Bautista breakout season. All the signs that he could are there for Encarnacion:
    1. Low BABIP from last year indicating that he was somewhat unlucky
    2. A home run pace that if expanded out over an entire year would land somewhere around 35-38.
    3. Just turned 28 and still in his prime.

    Manny will be Manny, but he will turn 39 this year and there really is no upside other than entertainment value (which is underrated). Also, many scouts believe that Manny's power is gone and he's now a 15-20 HR hitter. Given that Encarnacion has a somewhat cheap contract option for 2012, the Jays are better to go with him.

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  4. I'm in love with the idea of Manny playing for the Blue Jays for the 2011 season. This is a guy that still loves baseball, can still hit and loves the city of Toronto. There's 0 risk in signing him to a 1 year deal. If it doesn't work out the team isn't stuck with him long term. And while it may not bring more fans to the games it will raise some more excitement during the games themselves.

    I can't wait until we see a press release something like this one -> http://fanshots.com/s/zau6

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  5. Ian- This is by far your most triumphant Photoshop effort! This picture is perfect! I'm not one to LOL, but I will make an exception in this case! Excellent job.

    Also: I'm in favour of Manny, but he has to be at a low price tag, so that he could net prospects in a mid-season trade.

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  6. Peter, all the tools are there for EE to have a great season, but I'm just not convinced yet that he has the ability to return to his heydays with the Reds. But, maybe if he's given the chance to accumulate over 500 plate appearances, then just maybe we might see Bautista version 2.0.

    phjoshua, I'd love to see that press release go official as well. And another thing as well, I know Manny's agent is the money-sucking Scott Boras, but maybe Manny would be willing to take a "hometown discount" par se to play in a city he loves and for a team that he grew up watching.

    5th Starter, it just so happens that I found the right head shot and things lines up perfectly. Thanks!

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  7. If I were the Jays, I'd grab Manny. Of course, I still wish the Red Sox would sign him. Toronto really does look like a perfect fit. Although, the "antics" are really a media creation. So, there might not be as much entertainment value there. But, the hitting should be enough.

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  8. definitely could see it working into a high reward situation where Manny is dealt at the deadline.

    Question for all the commenters. Who do you see as the next player off the 40 man roster to make room for a potential signing like this one?

    Also Blandy, the Posednik and Damon article was 100% speculation on Ken Rosenthal's part. If you notice, there were not sources and are just Ken's opinion. I find a lot of people these days are having trouble distinguishing between speculation and actual rumours. no offence, just bringing light to the article.

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  9. It's not pure speculation, because he even says that according to major league sources they continue explore leadoff options such as Pod or Damon. Regardless, I don't take it as much, because AA seems to be in on pretty much everyone at some point or another. I just would prefer to have neither of those two.

    Ian- The pic is amazing. I hope to recreate such beauty in one of my posts someday.

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  10. Fully agree. I hate Manny and can't stand him. Yet...at the same time, I LOVE Manny and want him here. Badly.

    Imagine Bautista hitting 3rd and Manny hitting 4th? Niiiiiiice....

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  11. If Manny comes to Toronto will we have to call him Manuel Ramirez?

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  12. One option that everyone is missing is to play EE at 3B. Put Rajai on the bench, and JoBau in RF. Manny to DH.

    EE might be a butcher in the field, but the offensive potential of the following lineup is staggering...

    Escobar/Snider/Manny/JoBau/Lind/Wells/EE/Hill/JPA

    200 HR is a real possibility here.

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  13. Section 36, Toronto would have a field day with Manny as Blue Jay. There would be definitely be no shortage of media attention.

    GCM1979, just my guess but I'd say the next guy to be dropped off the 40-man would be Mastroianni, Carreno, or Farina?

    Rob, thanks sir ... but it's just proof I have way too much damn time on my hands to screw around in Photoshop.

    Jeremy, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! I'm definitely digging a Bautista/Manny/Wells combo in the lineup, that would be sick!

    flatul, I like that idea. When was the last time the Blue Jays had a Manuel on the roster ... was it Manny Lee?

    Andy, that's just another plus of AA signing EE. They have the flexibility to make moves like that since Encarnacion can play the field, albeit not very well.

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  14. Another fine photoshop, sir.

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  15. Nav, thank you kind sir. Who would've guessed it was the infamous picture of Manny shrugging his shoulders that made the cut?

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  16. I'm with you. I wish they would just do it or don't. I'm looking forward to Manny signing somewhere soon. I'd be ok with it being Toronto. He might not bring more Leafs fans to the RC but be could probably raise the Jays profile somewhat in Toronto.

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  17. Mattt, as the DH market starts to dry up, I think we'll see something happen soon. Apparently something could happen as early as next week.

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  18. if we can put Lind in left field, wilkerson and menche in centre, E5 at third, john "i do not want to block balls in the dirt" buck, im sure we can survive the odd game with Manny in left.

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  19. fuck manny. the guy is a fuckin idiot and he's got shit between his ears. he'll be like a dildo rammed up the jays colective asses. ouch.

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  20. Dammit. Manny went to Tampa for a mere $2 million. The Jays could easily have nabbed him -- for chrissakes, Encarnacion will be earning more than Manny, so it's not a stretch to think that the Jays could easily have had him for $3 or $4 million. That would still be an improvement over either EE or Napoli because what Manny does better than anyone else on the Jays (except for maybe Bautista) is get on base. We all know that the Jays desperately needs guys who are able to get on base and drive in baserunners.

    Booooo Jays.

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  21. Pepe, with the Vernon Wells trade, the Manny signing (or lack thereof) has been a little overshadowed. It's a little disappointing that Manny signed for so little with Tampa, but bringing him in now wouldn't really fit in well.

    That said, if Alex Anthopoulos isn't done shifting things around yet (and I'm sure he isn't), then there would always be a place to squeeze Manny in.

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  22. Ian - BJH ... Agreed, the Manny signing was overshadowed, and while we did get Napoli, I think the Jays would have been far better served to pick up Manny for all the things he can do that not many others on the team can do.

    At the worst, they cut him loose a la Frank Thomas but with less money at stake, but at the best, he hits .300 with a .400 OBP, drives in 120 runs. We don't need another big HR hitter but we do need guys who can get on base and drive in a ton of runs, so Manny's declining power wouldn't be a big issue in our lineup, although he would be able to hit a ton of doubles with the power alleys at the Rogers Centre.

    It'll be interesting to see what Anthopoulos does from here on because I don't see them going into training camp with a gap in either OF or 3B depending on where they place Bautista.

    Let's see, this is what we've got at the moment:

    C - Arencibia/Napoli/Molina
    1B - Lind/Napoli
    2B - Hill
    SS - Escobar
    3B - Bautista
    LF - Rivera
    CF - Davis
    RF - Snider
    DH - Napoli/Encarnacion

    Ugh, they definitely need an upgrade in the OF. Manny would be a much better fit, team-needs-wise, than Napoli/EE at DH.

    The best thing I guess we need to hope for, other than a trade/signing by Anthopoulos, is for Brett Lawrie to zoom through the minors and push Hill over to 3B and put Bautista into RF. Hopefully Rivera can be used as trade bait to pull in a reliever or something.

    Anthopoulos is starting to get a big reputation as a sharp GM, so hopefully there's something up his sleeve to come.

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  23. Oh, and I'm also especially bummed because it's Tampa that got Manny - a divisional rival that Anthopoulos had a chance to keep his foot firmly on the throat of. The Jays' job just got a lot tougher within their own division.

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  24. Pepe, I too would've preferred Manny over Mike Napoli, but dumping Vernon Wells salary was just far too tempting. Napoli has some power, and his ability to crush lefties is very tempting.

    The roster seems very crowded at the moment, so that's why I wouldn't be surprised to see some more trades on the horizon for the Blue Jays.

    And yes, facing the Rays 13 times this season will now be even more worrisome with Manny in the lineup. His .279/.384/.563 line lifetime against the Jays frightens me a little bit.

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  25. Just a thought... Pity this Wells trade didn't happen a month ago. Wonder if Anthopoulos would have considered going after someone like Adrian Beltre with the $23 million suddenly gone *poof* from the payroll (minus the feed that Napoli/Rivera are to get)?

    Someone like Beltre would have been a terrific fit in the lineup with his excellent defense and reasonable ability to hit for average (don't let his so-so numbers in Seattle fool you, it's a terrible hitting park). He's a good doubles hitter, which is perfect for the Rogers Centre.

    C'est la vie.

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  26. Pepe, Beltre would've definitely filled the hole at third base, but I'm not convinced he can perform well year in/year out. He's only had 2 above average seasons, and oddly enough both of those were contract years.

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