Just a few random thoughts on the Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon signings…First and foremost, what are reasonable expectations, for each player? First of all, we need to keep in mind that it is not 2004 anymore. If it was, these two would have cost $28.5 million and the Rays would be the favorites to win the AL pennant.
But while both players are past their primes, they have proven that they can still be very productive hitters. Bill James has Damon projected at .271 with 12 home runs, 11 steals and a .352 OBP. Moving from Comerica Park and from the never-run Tigers, we’d expect Damon’s power to go up a little (16-17 HR?) and his steals to go up also (20-25?).
We already looked at how Manny’s numbers have dropped since his PED suspension. The biggest drop is in his power. But we also have to consider that Manny had a lot of those post-suspension ABs at Dodger Stadium. Bill James projects Manny at .298 with 23 home runs and a .401 OBP. If he plays a full season, we wouldn’t be surprised if he hits 25-28 home runs in The Trop. And that is a very healthy season.
Some other random thoughts on ManDam…
- The Manny contract ($2.0M) is the perfect “can’t lose” deal. Clearly Manny is playing for a 2012 contract, so he will be motivated. And if he isn’t and is more of a distraction than a help, well, even the Rays can swallow $2.0M. They’ll just cut him and move on.
- Manny has to be the everyday DH, right? (although who doesn’t want to occasionally see him flop around in left field like a dead fish?) That means, the Rays have signed Damon to play left field and possibly some first base. Not ideal, but ok. It also means that even if Desmond Jennings gets called up, he won’t be an everyday player in 2011.
- Combined, Manny and Damon will make less ($7.25M) than the Rays paid Pat Burrell last year ($9.0M).
- Damon obviously wanted $6.0M, but instead got $5.25M and the $750K “attendance bonus.” Knowing Scott Boras, he probably was selling popularity as part of Damon’s value. So the Rays countered with an “attendance bonus.” At that point, Boras was stuck. If he was so sure about Damon’s popularity, he had to take the bonus instead of holding out for more guaranteed money.
- If the Rays really want to reunite The Idiots, why not sign Pedro Martinez to be the closer…Why not just sign him? Do it! Run down to the Dominican – bam, bam, bam, bam. Friedman’s back before week’s end. The Rays spend the treasure. How is this a bad plan?