You know a player has set lofty standards when everyone considers a .298/.409/.460 season to be a disappointment, but that's exactly what Manny Ramirez did in 2010. He hit just .261/.420/.319 in 88 plate appearances following his mid-season trade to the White Sox, and they unsurprisingly declined to offer the Type-A free agent earlier this week. MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez now wonders if this is it for one of the greatest hitters we'll ever see.
When he ranked Manny the 19th best free agent on the market (insider req'd), ESPN's Keith Law said he's "lost enough bat speed that when he squares a ball up it doesn't take off the way that it did for him before the 2009 season ... The explosiveness he had at the plate well into his 30s is all but gone." Ramirez has hit 20 or fewer homers in three of the last four seasons, and his bat is no longer justifying his atrocious defense or various other antics. He also hit the disabled list three times with leg-related ailments this season.
Scott Boras recently said he's seeking a one-year, incentive-laden contract that will allow Ramirez to serve as a full-time designated hitter, but Gonzalez mentions all of the other cheap DH options on the market (Hideki Matsui, Jim Thome, Lance Berkman, Vladimir Guerrero among others) that could reasonably approximate his production. The Blue Jays seem like a logical fit, and although Manny has interest, we don't know if it's mutual.
Two or three years ago a poll question like this would have been unthinkable, but with Ramirez in obvious decline at age 38, it would not be a surprise if teams looking for a DH went in another direction. On to the poll...
Will anyone sign Manny Ramirez this offseason?