Will 'Manny being Manny' work in Arlington?

ARLINGTON, Texas -- If indeed "Manny being Manny" makes its debut with the Texas Rangers later this month, one question looms: Will it work?

Is Manny Ramirez, at age 41, worth the risk?

In the Rangers' case, the answer is obvious: Absolutely.

The Rangers need a right-handed bat. That has been a glaring weakness since the season opener. It showed again Tuesday night when the Seattle Mariners started left-hander Joe Saunders and the only right-handed bat available for the Rangers' designated hitter spot was 20-year-old Jurickson Profar.

Even manager Ron Washington said it was unusual to start a rookie as the DH. Not because Profar doesn't give you a quality at-bat, but the DH spot is a run-producing position, one usually more suited for a veteran hitter.

The Rangers lost 9-2 as Seattle hit three home runs, including two from designated hitter Kendrys Morales, and the Rangers hit none, extending their homer drought to 38 innings.

There are also questions about Lance Berkman's right knee. Berkman was in the lineup Wednesday night, but he had missed five straight games after falling down a flight of stairs on the team's charter plane. Berkman's knees have bothered him off and on all season, and when healthy, he's historically a better left-handed hitter than right-handed.

Jeff Baker, the Rangers' best bench option from the right side, probably won't return until after the All-Star break because of a sprained thumb.

And even with that, a Manny Ramirez anywhere close to his career numbers gives the Rangers' offense a whole new look. The numbers support it: Ramirez is one of the most productive hitters in baseball history.

There is also zero risk for the Rangers. Financially, if Ramirez makes it to the big leagues, he will be paid the league minimum. There are no bonuses.

There's an immediate assumption that Ramirez will be a problem in the clubhouse. Aside from his final season in Boston in 2008, when Ramirez's relationship with the Red Sox's front office turned bloody over two $20 million club options for 2009-10, he has been fine in the clubhouse.

Rangers, including A.J. Pierzynski, Ramirez's teammate for a brief stint, and Nelson Cruz, who has played against Manny in winter ball, said they would welcome him in the clubhouse.

Ramirez has won everywhere he has been, playing on two World Series championship teams in Boston and another in Cleveland that lost Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

The Rangers can still look at options on the trade market for a right-handed hitting outfielder. Ramirez is unlikely to play in the field if he makes it to the big leagues.

The trade possibilities took a hit Tuesday when it was announced that Minnesota's Josh Willingham is out for four to six weeks. A player that was most certainly on the Rangers' radar. Maybe the White Sox's Alex Rios still is. We'll see.

Signing Ramirez is a flier. Even general manager Jon Daniels said so Wednesday.

Given the circumstances, and the fact that a right-handed bat is needed, the Rangers have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking a chance on Manny.