Manny Ramirez—inadvertently or not—did something smart this winter.
He signed a contract.
*The following is contingent on Manny actually having a clue as to what’s going on—a shaky premise at best.
Yes, it was a perceived blow to his pride to agree to a 1-year contract with the Rays for a “paltry” (in comparison to what Manny’s accustomed to being paid) $2 million.
Last season, Manny received $20 million; the year before, $25 million; that was coming off a contract with the Red Sox for 8-years and $160 million.
Not even Manny is spacey enough to have blown that kind of money…I don’t think.
So he’s not playing to get paid anymore. I think Manny’s still playing because: A) he feels, accurately, that he can still help a club win; and B) he wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he wasn’t playing baseball.
After the contract’s signed and the games start, will anyone be thinking about the $2 million? Either it’s going to be a worthwhile gamble that doesn’t work or a terrific bargain. I say it’ll be the latter because, if nothing else, Manny’s reputation will still get him on base and he will hit a few homers; it might not be 30-40; but if he’s healthy, he’ll hit his 20 homers and have a .400 on base percentage. That will score runs for his club.
Of course, Manny being Manny could hit .400 in April and throw a tantrum because the Rays refuse to give him a contract extension.
That’s the risk you take when signing him.
But if he does have a good year and proves he can hit and behave, he’ll get a contract for 2012 that’s much more in line with his accomplishments; closer to his demands. He’s about to turn 39, but as a DH he could play for at least two more seasons after this one.
It was a smart and somewhat surprising move from a player whose moods and contrary actions have sullied a great career. He still has time to screw it up, but for now he did the right thing.
Contrast that with another player who apparently let pride stand in the way of playing last season; a player who is widely respected as a person and had proven in 2009 that he could still contribute on the field—Jermaine Dye.
In this MLB Trade Rumors posting, Dye is said to be considering retirement. Did he make a mistake in sitting out last season when, as is asserted, he had major league offers in hand? Or when clubs came calling at mid-season, should he have taken them up on their offers?
It did his career no good whatsoever to sit out in 2010; it certainly didn’t make him any money.
Dye is 37 and can still produce. Plus he’s a great clubhouse guy.
It seems now that teams have forgotten about him and are offering him minor league deals wondering if he can still hit. A year off—when he was healthy—certainly won’t help his bat speed or timing.
Sitting out was a mistake.
I don’t know what the offers were and in the winter, Dye had a better case for staying away. But in the summer? When teams would’ve given him a chance to play for a contender like the Rockies, Padres and Rangers? What kind of money was he looking for at that point? Did he think his value was going to increase after a year away?
Manny Ramirez is the last person I’d suggest anyone listen to in terms of advice regarding anything but hitting a baseball; but in this case, Dye might’ve been smarter to do as Manny did and take a contract to play rather than sit home, have people forget about him and make him offers that he deems less acceptable than the ones he got last year.
If his pride interfered with a desire to continue playing baseball, then he made a mistake. A big one if he still wants to play.
Manny shall lead the way?