CHICAGO -- Forget what the numbers say, Manny Ramirez is still a feared hitter who remains one of the toughest outs in the game and can still hit for consistent power.
That might sound like it came from one of Ramirez’s family members, or more likely his agent Scott Boras, but it didn’t. It came from none other than an American League scout , who said he would suggest putting in a waiver claim in on Ramirez if his team was in position to handle that kind of addition.
The White Sox are believed to have put in a claim on the 38-year-old Ramirez. They will know Friday if teams ahead of them in the claiming pecking order got to him first and thwarted their plans for an addition to the middle of the batting order.
So for those who think that Ramirez will disrupt chemistry, isn’t worth adding salary or losing prospects, or is too far past his prime to make a difference, others who get paid to actually make those decisions think otherwise.
Want more? In the scout’s professional opinion, Ramirez looks to be coasting, playing without a spring in his step but still flashing his patented bat speed at times. He appears to be waiting to get out of Los Angeles and into a division chase that will inspire him to success.
A similar scenario took place in 2008 when Ramirez was being blamed for quitting on the Red Sox with some lethargic play. He then went to the Dodgers in a trade-deadline deal and immediately caught a second wind, carrying his new club to the National League Championship Series.
Ramirez, who did not play Thursday for the Dodgers at Milwaukee, is batting .313 in 64 games. His eight home runs and 40 RBIs average out to 20 home runs and 101 RBI if he played a full season at that pace of production.
Even in a season when he’s gone to the disabled list three times, twice for the same calf injury, Ramirez has still delivered when healthy. His power punch might be helped too by leaving a pitchers’ park like Dodger Stadium and moving to homer-friendly U.S. Cellular Field.
Ramirez will have a reported $4.3 million left on his salary this season, but only $1.1 million of that would be paid out this year, meaning that if he really does give his new team a productive last month, it would be a bargain. The rest of that money is deferred.
Some might question the sense of adding somebody who would so obviously coast on his teammates. It’s a legitimate concern. In that sense it becomes a moral debate.
Would you rather have a guy like Ramirez motivated for a month and helping you to success? Or would you rather he goes to somebody else so you can move on with a clean conscience?
In baseball, chances for ultimate success don’t come around very often. It makes it a complicated decision.