The always-forward-thinking Marc Topkin of the St. Pete Times had a nice item in yesterday’s paper noting that Manny Ramirez was off the DL and now eligible to pass through waivers.
Topkin did a nice job laying out all the obstacles that stand between the Rays and a successful waiver trade for Ramirez.
The question left unasked is, would Manny help the Rays win the 2010 World Series?
My gut says yes but, my gut happens to be wrong (I suppose that late-night burrito is messing with its radar at the moment).
There was a time when Manny was absolutely the most-feared hitter in baseball. Not only was he dominant in big spots, but he never seemed to be fooled or take an off-balance swing. That Manny would certainly help the Rays offensively but it doesn’t look like that Manny is available to the Rays.
Forget age, diminution in ability, mental interest, or potential steroid use. Manny doesn’t help the Rays because he needs to play in the outfield to hit for power.
Look at his career splits:
As a leftfielder, Manny has a career .592 slugging percentage and 1.004 OPS.
As a rightfielder, Manny has a career .595 slugging percentage and a 1.006 OPS.
But, as a DH, Manny’s career power numbers dip to a .570 slugging percentage and a .983 OPS.
This actually makes a lot of sense. Playing DH takes a lot of mental fortitude because it requires a player to stay engaged in the game even though he is only participating three or four times. And, when we think of Manny’s legacy, I doubt the words “mental” and “fortitude” will be anywhere near each other.
The reality is, Manny only fits in the Rays lineup as a DH (because the Rays outfield, as currently constituted, is either the top-rated or amongst the top-rated defensive outfields in baseball depending on the statistical metric) and only helps the team if he can hit for power from the right side. But, he doesn’t hit for power as a DH.
So, ManRam turning into ManRay seems like a bad idea.