Here is a small collection of what various writers have written about the Rays’ newest acquisitions, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon…
By dealing Matt Garza, the Rays saved about $5m in 2011 salary. This would lead me to believe they have a bit of money to spend. Both struggled a bit in 2010, but is it worth the $8m gamble to see if one or both can regain their form? I think so, but then again it’s not my money.
Rob Neyer from ESPN.com:
I think this is simply the product of a management team that’s grown accustomed to relevance, and isn’t willing to just punt a season until absolutely necessary…considering the young talent on the Rays’ roster, January is just too early to give up.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports:
The fits aren’t perfect. Damon will get
most of his at-bats in left field, and at this stage of his career he is more of a DH. Ramirez will act up at some point — or, more likely, several points — though Damon could be a positive influence and the Tampa Bay market is as low-key as it gets…Their bullpen remains a work in progress…The Rays should be pretty good even with a payroll of only $40 million to $45 million.
Joe Lemire of SI.com:
Rumors of the Rays’ demise, which already had been greatly exaggerated, have been extinguished thanks to [Andrew Friedman] who has kept Tampa Bay in contention despite cutting its payroll by more than 40 percent…Damon is the custodian of Ramirez…The two appeared to be friends in Boston in those Idiot days of yore and perhaps Damon can keep in check the moody Ramirez…Ramirez’s compensation of just $2 million — one-tenth his salary last year — is less than many of his teammates, including backup catcher Kelly Shoppach and setup man Kyle Farnsworth. At that wage, if Ramirez acts up, he carries little risk and can be cut with little remorse.
Jonah Keri at Fangraphs.com:
In 2011, they will be paid the market-rate equivalent of a win and a half….If the two players perform as poorly as they did last year, the Rays got very good value. If they get worse, it’s still a net gain…But the gains could prove much larger, especially if Manny can be Manny for a full season…Best of all, they should be interesting again this season. They’ll win more games than they would have before these two moves. And even in perhaps the most fickle market in all of Major League Baseball, they may well draw more fans with Sideshow Manny in town, even after stripping out the effects of a higher win total…The Rays might still be a third-place team in 2011. But they’ll have plenty to YIPYIPYIP about.
ESPN.com’s “Stats & info” shows why it won’t take much for Manny to be an upgrade for the Rays at DH:
In the last five seasons, Rays DHs have never hit higher than .246. They rank among the least productive in all three slashline statistics (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage), as well as home runs.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald:
the AL East just got a whole lot more fun…had they signed separately in say, Tampa Bay and Texas, or Toronto and Los Angeles (Angels), the expectations for each would probably be relatively low. But put them together, and it’s hard not to wonder if they can rekindle a little bit of the idiotic energy that made them such stars in Boston.
We read a lot of stories on ManDam this weekend and many more comments. Not once did we see where somebody compared this to “The Hit Show.” But apparently there were three or four commenters somewhere and that was enough for Eric Hamann to get all riled up and write an entire post debunking the made-up myth:
Detractors always loom, however. When looked for reactions about the Damon and Manny signings, I’ve heard and read far too many people [sic] reference the ugliest three word combination in Rays history: The Hit Show.