What’s certain is that 38 year-old slugger Manny Ramirez is heading to the Chicago White Sox. What’s uncertain is how effective Manny will be. Will it be “Manny being Manny” or will he help them reach the playoffs? Jayson Stark had a compelling article on Manny, which would place Ramirez in the “Manny being Manny” camp. And he has some valid points. Not to mention all of Manny’s past woes: With the Red Sox, Manny’s knees were sore, but we never knew which one. The water-bottle-in-the-back-pocket-syndrome. The dropped-catch-and-then-sitting-on-the-ball-disorder. With the Dodgers, his calf and hamstring seemed to be the problem. The positive PEDs. The one-pitch ejections. The impending divorce of the McCourts, the owners of the Dodgers (there is an entire web-site dedicated to their demise).
But in baseball, what ultimately matters? In 2008 (pre-PED suspension) Manny ONLY hit .396 with 17 HR, .743 slugging percentage, and .489 on-base percentage. This was over the next two months after he was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers. Can Manny duplicate these numbers with the White Sox? He hasn’t exactly provided his “A game” over the last year and a half. He has only played in about half of the last 260 games. .269 batting avg. Slugging and on-base percentages took a royal dive. So what can make things work for Manny on the South Side?
If you ask me, Chicago is the perfect match for Manny, specifically with the antics of Ozzie Guillen. In his usual banter-in-broken-English, Ozzie had some entertaining things to say about Manny becoming a South-sider: “I think its funny how people tell people ‘Manny being Manny’. Hey, Manny be real…To me he’s a great guy. He don’t have any problem with anybody…It’s two rules I have: You gotta be straight with the team and be there for the national anthem…If the guys can go there butt naked, they don’t have to wear a uniform. They win game for me? I’m only happy for them.” Fair enough, Ozzie. Essentially we’re looking at a one-month hire. During Manny’s career, his September hitting has produced a .313 avg, 93 HR, .412 OBP, and a .604 SLG. Why wouldn’t GM Ken Williams go after this guy? So what if he left the Dodgers high and dry. If I were Manny, I wouldn’t want to play for a team who has been caught in the middle of the royal McDivorce.