To Manny or not to Manny?
I figured it’d be best to answer the large amounts of questions I got on Twitter regarding the Orioles and Manny Ramirez in a quick blog post. Are the Orioles in on Manny? Well, they have some interest, especially given that they’d like to add a veteran bat before Spring Training and the free agency pool has all but dried up.
Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reported earlier today that Ramirez is deciding between the O’s, Athletics and Blue Jays.
But how serious is the Orioles interest in Manny? I don’t know, and it’s tough for anyone to say accurately at this point. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette –who had Ramirez while GM in Boston– hasn’t ruled out the scenario all offseason, which is why I’m hesitant to do so now.
To recap, Ramirez will face a 50-game suspension for violating the MLB drug policy should he sign a new contract and play in 2012. He would come at a cheaper cost than an older DH on the market, such as Johnny Damon, but he also comes with significant drawbacks. In addition to the suspension, Ramirez typically brings a media circus, and I’m not sure how that would play out with manager Buck Showalter. And then there’s the question of performance: how much does Manny have left in the tank? The Orioles saw firsthand last year with Vladimir Guerrero that a veteran past his prime isn’t exactly the exciting cleanup hitter they need.
With just about two weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, all signs point to Ramirez making a decision soon. So, stay tuned.