Athletics Take Long Shot on Manny Ramirez

He’s not an outfielder any more. He might not even be a cutoff man any more. He can’t play in the field, in other words. He hasn’t played pro baseball in over 300 days. Even if he makes the team, he’ll have to serve at least a fifty-game suspension before shaking off the game-speed rust. He turns 40 this year. So what is there to like about the Athletics’ signing Manny Ramirez to a Minor League deal?

Something. There is something to like about it.

That something is that there’s probably a chance that Ramirez can still hit. ZiPs projected him, as a Ray, for a .241/.342/.363 line this year, with seven home runs in over 300 plate appearances. But the last time he played regularly, 2010, he had a .298/.409/.460 line that suggested that he could still take a walk and still make contact.

If we peg his on-base percentage upside between .350 and .400, he’s already ahead of most of the gaggle of designated hitter options. Chris Carter is projected for a .315 OBP by the fans. Kila Ka’aihue walks all day and could manage better than his RotoChamp projected .335 OBP, but how much better? Brandon Allen‘s best OBP projection comes in at .337 from the fans. Of course, they should all show more power than Ramirez, but it is interesting that he is projected to out on-base them all.

There is the fact that Ramirez is facing suspension for his second failed drug test last year with Rays. In an interesting twist that came out at the winter meetings, Maury Brown reported that Ramirez may only serve a 50-game suspension instead of the required 100-game suspension. He might get some partial credit for ‘time served’ because he stayed away from baseball all season last year.

If the team likes what they see in Spring Training, they may think that Manny can help man DH once he’s back from his suspension. He’s probably fighting Kila K for a spot on the 40-man roster, and the 28-year-old former prospect has done nothing but walk (12%) in his first 300-odd Major League plate appearances. The Royal important does have more years of control, so he’s in the pole position, but neither player will cost much this season. It’s still possible that Ramirez, even at this point in his career, is a better hitter than the Hawaiian.

The last piece is the fact that this is a Minor League deal. It’s a $500,000 lottery ticket on a player that was worth around six million bucks just two years ago. For a player that has skills of need at a position of need.

There’s something to like about this deal. A little something.




Print This Post



Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


46 Responses to “Athletics Take Long Shot on Manny Ramirez”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. TD says:

    Here’s why the deal makes sense for the A’s

    1) Fan interest – with the Cespedes and Ramirez signings, A’s fans might actually show up to a few more games this year
    2) The suspension – 50 games works out fine for the team because they can see what they have in Allen, Kila and Carter (although I’m not exactly holding my breath)
    3) Contract – 1 year, 500 K is a tiny risk when the reward is that Manny could hit better than the other DH options out there who are asking for more money
    4) Reward – If Manny hits, then the A’s are a better ball club/he could be traded for another piece to help the A’s contend when they move in to their new ballpark in the next 3-100 years

    +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • pft says:

      Nailed it.

      FWIW, BP’s 2012 annual has him projected for 2.7 WARP (more than Crawfords 2.1 WARP projection).

      Surprised the Yankees did not go after him.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Barkey Walker says:

        I’d be surprised to see any number north of 0 WAR from Ramirez. I think there is a post-PED crash that A Rod. is experiencing right now and that Ramirez experienced about a year earlier. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have an OBP of 0.250 and an iso below 0.100, in the minors.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TD says:

        Post PED crash from A-Rod? He put up 4.2 WAR in 99 games last year…if Ramirez crashes like that I think that A’s fans will be mighty pleased.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Joe says:

      Just like Balfour and Fuentes were flipped last year and paying them ~9mil combined… I guess they can always be flipped sometime this year (after they’ve probably been paid ~13mil at that point, seems like a good value). Remember when Beane was “arbitraging” the reliever market last year and signing these guys to 2 year deals (and nearly 18mil totals) was a good thing?

      Why is every Beane move talked up as “he could always be flipped”.?

      Manny will have 30-40 games prior to the trade deadline? No compensation with the new CBA? (not that he would under the old system) What exactly is he getting traded for with maybe 40 games under his belt?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TD says:

        Why is every Beane move talked up as “he could always be flipped”.?

        Because he flips a huge amount of his players…

        Regarding Fuentes and Balfour, they are still under contract so its not like we would lose them for nothing, they can still be flipped, and are less valuable than a SP or a bat.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Ed says:

    Minor league contract… that’s a guaranteed $500k? I had thought that minor league contracts guaranteed less money than that, and the player received only major league minimum salary pro-rated for time spent in the majors. Also, these minor league deals usually include some incentives for reaching plate appearance milestones, right?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Aren’t the Dodgers still paying Manny?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Richie says:

    If he doesn’t make the club out of spring training, do they still owe him the half-mill??

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • walt526 says:

      My understanding is that it’s a minor league contract, which means it’s not guaranteed. So if he looks like dogmeat in the Cactus League, then the A’s can cut him and not owe him the $500k.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • philosofool says:

      I don’t know if that’s been announced.

      I think the terms of contracts sometimes allow the player and/or club to opt out, and sometimes both are obligated to fulfill the contract. (The language “minor league contract” certainly doesn’t suggest that the club gets risk-free option on his skills.) It might be that the club has to make a decision by a certain point in time about whether to release him, and if they do, then they aren’t on the hook.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ronin says:

        Actually the standard minor league contract is non-guaranteed. Teams never need to have an opt-out on minor league deals but veteran players are often given opt-outs in their minor league deals as a courtesy in case another club shows interest in adding the player to their 40 man roster. Also IRC suspended players do not get paid during their suspension so Manny will probably only earn around $350K if he is suspended 50 games and spends the rest of the time on the big league roster.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. cpebbles says:

    I figured Manny would come to his senses and un-retire to get the suspension out of the way just in case he decided to take one more shot at it. Shows me not to count on intelligence out of Manny Ramirez.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Barkey Walker says:

      I wonder if he had some time where he was not drug tested because of the retirement but would have been constantly drug tested if he had not retired.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • cpebbles says:

        We already know Manny is stupid, so that’s the excuse I’m going by. Also not sure what the significance of further testing would be, unless he kept taking steroids during his retirement for some strange reason.

        Felt at the time like he retired in a hurry in an attempt to keep the positive test from being made public. As soon as MLB shut that down, he should have “come back” to serve the suspension.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. dave in gb says:

    A very typical move by the Athletics.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Richie says:

      If the full cost is just however-many spring training at bats, then the As are the team that should take a free peak at Manny. Only cost is bad pub for perhaps the MLB team that’s most immune to that type of damage. If there’s even a 10% chance Manny still has some bat speed, well, what the hey.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Chone Figgins MVP says:

    Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn & Chone Figgins – expect at least one of this trio to have a bounce back year and take people by surprise!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. CircleChange11 says:

    Well, if there’s a team that’s not put off by PEDs, it would be OAK.

    It bothers me that teams are still willing to sign a player that’s been suspended twice, but then still deride PEDs publicly.

    If teams are going to avoid Barry Bonds, I don;t see why they would sign Manny … especially a team that is nowhere near contention.

    Even if he hits very well (relative) what type of prospect does he bring back, and what teams will really seek to acquire him?

    Is this the scenario that they hope he hits really well, a contender experiences a big injury, and they are able to trade him for a C+ or B- prospect?

    Is that worth the risk? Not IMO.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Matt says:

      Where’s the risk?

      Also, I was really hoping someone would take a shot on Bonds. Too bad his career ended prematurely. He could have still raked in 2008-9, and maybe longer.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • TD says:

      Yes, because Manny is the only player in the league to use PEDs…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      I think my points are very clear.

      One of the points was the inconsistent message the owners regarding PEDs.

      My personal preference is that I don’t think the A’s are in the position where they need to sign a 2X PED offender: (1) They are going to contend, (2) he isn’t going to bring about any really good prospects, and (3) in the end he takes at bats from guys that need them.

      At 500K, there’s essentially no risk other than he occupies a roster spot, take at bats away from younger players, and even if he hits well do teams really give up much to give him? Especially with the assumption that positive test #3 may be coming? (if he gets off to a good first half).

      Essentially aren’t the A’s hoping that Manny catches fire and a contender loses a big bat? I guess that situation has to pay off for the A’s at some point right?

      It doesn;t take much for the move to “pay off” in terms of Manny putting up 500K worth of performance, I just think it’s an unnecessary move.

      Manny makes the roster, serves a 50 game suspension then what? Has 30 games to show contenders what he can do before they give OAK a good young bat in trade?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        * aren’t going to contend.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TD says:

        And heres where I disagree

        Who is Manny Ramirez taking at bats from? Kila is 28 and has plenty of chances, Chris Carter has trouble making contact and Brandon Allen had a great chance at the end of last season and didn’t prove himself. However, all these players will get a chance because Manny will be suspended at least the first 50 games. With a non-guaranteed contract, if one of the young guys proves himself, Manny can be cut easily.

        And youre overlooking a few other things – If Manny does come in and hits, you are adding wins and excitement to a team that badly, badly needs it. With the A’s financial problems, any additional revenue is welcomed. And perhaps you can flip him for a decent prospect as a bonus.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • pft says:

        Isn’t that double jeapardy. if he does his time he should be given another chance until or if he gets banned (3 strike and you are out),

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        Maybe I’m not explaining myself well enough or maybe I’m complicated and combining the issues.

        My issue is how baseball, in general, is handling different PED situations.Sometimes it’s a huge deal, sometimes it’s not a big deal at all.

        My personal view is that the suspensions match the severity of the offense.If I’m an owner I don’t prohibit myself from signing Manny because of 2 offenses.

        I don’t think the A’s need him because they have enough stuff to sort out without dealing with the many issues of Manny. There was a time when he was well worth the issues. IMHO, that time no longer exists. I also do not think he’s going to bring about much in trade. So, I’m not really seeing the “upside” that makes the possible headaches worth it.

        But, I understand at this point these are the moves the current A’s make. IMO, the current A’s aren’t all that smart anymore.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy says:

    From what i remember the guy could still hit, that was a few years ago yes, but still i find it funny how the media can take a narrative and just run with it. Nobody really bothers to question it or say something different, it’s quite sad.
    I get the whole PED thing puts you off, but people calling him names and saying he’s a bum is going too far because a) tons of players have taken PEDs and b) looking up his 2010 he still had a .915 OPS (we know his defense was lacking but so what) and with the White Sox/Rays it’s only about 30 games so a small sample size.
    I actually wish we still had him, with the real worthless bums our GM has been throwing out there.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • cpebbles says:

      Knock down his BABIP luck .025 or .030 points and his OPS plummets down below .850, and Manny is one of the few players able to be a mediocre ballplayer with an .850 OPS. And of course that was two years ago.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. TheGrandSlamwich says:

    At least the A’s now have 1 player that an average fan would know the name of…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • baycommuter says:

      At least three, with Bartolo Colon and Coco Crisp.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • PL says:

      Well first off there’s Cespedes, if you don’t know that name, I don’t know what to tell you other than to maybe pay attention to baseball before posting on fangraphs.

      Brandon McCarthy was metrically a top 10 AL pitcher last year and is undoubtedly the best MLB player twitter account you can possibly follow (sorry lomo).

      Dallas Braden threw a perfect game and beefed with A-Rod.

      Rickie Weeks little brother Jemile gets on base like crazy and makes highlight reel plays.

      Brett Anderson’s ceiling is as high as anyones, he’s the second coming of Matt Cain pretty much.

      And really? You don’t know who Kurt Suzuki, Brian Fuentes or Seth Smith are?

      Bad post dude. The A’s have enough familiar faces to not make that comment, now the Astros on the other hand…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • PL says:

        oops just saw “the average fan” comment, my bad.

        Even still, the kind of fan youre talking about probably only knows 1-3 players on every team.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TheGrandSlamwich says:

        I’m a pretty hard-core A’s fan, so I can name their likely starting lineup and the majority of their minor league system. Casual fans of other teams (Fangraphs readership generally does not fit that description) would likely have no idea who most of the A’s players are.

        My Dallas Braden perfect game bobblehead agrees with me.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Kyle says:

    Isn’t Chris Carter playing in Japan this year? Thought that Seibu signed him.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • BX says:

      two different Chris Carters. One is playing in Japan (the white one, former Met), while Vernon Chris Carter is playing with the A’s.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. PL says:

    I’m an unabashed Manny fan. He’s the best pure hitter I’ve ever seen in my 25+ years of watching the game. Hitting, plain and simply, cannot be helped with PEDs. Hitting for distance is where the PEDs come in but even then, all of these guys used them primarily to prevent injuries and play longer…which goes against all the “he doesn’t care about the game” memes that go with most of these guys. Its simple: you do not play a game your entire life if you don’t like it.

    The Boston media was who turned on Manny, as they always do: lets not forget they made that city hate one of the nicest and most genuine guys in the game, Nomar, as well as trying their darnedest to usher Papi out after a slow start last year. They cannot be trusted, when a Red Sox player angers them for whatever reason, they will blow up every possible angle to absurd proportions to get the fans to turn on that player they don’t like. Even in the year he supposedly “quit” on Boston before being traded, he put up a 926 OPS before being traded, in his last month there he played 27 games and had a 977 OPS, “quitting”? I wish more players “quit” like that. I mean seriously how insane is that? Even when he’s apparently not trying, he’s better than everyone.

    As for the A’s, they are pro-rating the deal per game played. That means the most Manny could make is $335,000, and will undoubtedly get less for every game he does not appear in. This is a tiny deal. Plus if Carter mashes, Manny will never suit up and they can release him at any point. I also have no idea what people mean when they say “clubhouse leadership” Ive read all sorts of nonsense by pundits saying stuff as ludicrous as “Even with the language barrier, Matsui was a clubhouse leader last year in Oakland.” Leader to whom? They were a bad team, if he was leading anything, he failed as a leader. No one expects Manny to lead or do anything other than hit. Oakland is a great place for him to play, there’s not a lot of pressure and with the new youth movement, he can have a lot of fun. In all my days I have never seen a guy smile so much while playing baseball, and get hated by everyone for doing so, than Manny Ramirez.

    My biggest question here is: What was the change that happened with Beane that prevented him from getting Bonds, to now signing Manny? There were constant rumors flying around everywhere in 08+09 that Bonds was being looked into by Oakland, and Barry never retired until very recently. In 07 Bonds, final season, he had a 1045 OPS. Who doesn’t want that production? Was Bonds blacklisted ala Jose Canseco, and Manny for whatever reason hasnt been?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Didn’t Manny knock down some elderly staffer in Boston and that’s why they turned on him?? Didn’t Manny also fake some injury so he could have an excuse not to play?? I don’t belive everything I read in the news, but I thought these two inceidents were true.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • PL says:

      That “elderly staffer” threw the first shoulder block and has since admitted he started the whole thing and Manny did nothing to provoke him.

      The “fake injury” thing…he missed one game. He probably could have just asked for it off but by that point the Boston media had already turned on him and were looking for things to blow out of proportion.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • PL says:

        Manny has used PED’s but I personally am not bothered with it, MLB has always been plagued by drug use:

        50s-early 70s: greenies (aka speed)
        mid 70s-late 80s: cocaine
        early 90s to early 00’s: steroids
        mid 00’s to present: weed.

        Not to mention so many cases of alcoholism, a no hitter on LSD and an MVP who smoked crack…MLB is never and will ever be “clean”. Why some people have put a moral compass on the game is beyond me. These arent perfect people and have never been. Ball Four blew the lid off what had been the seedy underbelly of the game for many years previous. Why we act like every player has to be a saint just doesnt make any sense.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Hurtlockertwo says:

        I agree that these guys are just a reflection of society as a whole, but if I did some of the things atheletes get away with I would have been fired long ago.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        @ PL

        I don;t think anyone that has a reasonable knowledge of how a variety of drugs work and affect the body, and as a result sports performance, could accept the points you’re making.

        One could say that an a person being trained by a former navy seal doing an elite training program and a little old lady walking her dog are both on “exercise programs”, but that doesn’t mean they’re equal in degree.

        I grow tired of people lumping greenies and weed in with PEDs.

        I don;t think anyone is pretending any MLBers are saints, and we really don;t need that strawman in the conversation.

        Vote -1 Vote +1