Athletics Take Long Shot on Manny Ramirez

He’s not an outfielder any more. He might not even be a cutoff man any more. He can’t play in the field, in other words. He hasn’t played pro baseball in over 300 days. Even if he makes the team, he’ll have to serve at least a fifty-game suspension before shaking off the game-speed rust. He turns 40 this year. So what is there to like about the Athletics’ signing Manny Ramirez to a Minor League deal?

Something. There is something to like about it.

That something is that there’s probably a chance that Ramirez can still hit. ZiPs projected him, as a Ray, for a .241/.342/.363 line this year, with seven home runs in over 300 plate appearances. But the last time he played regularly, 2010, he had a .298/.409/.460 line that suggested that he could still take a walk and still make contact.

If we peg his on-base percentage upside between .350 and .400, he’s already ahead of most of the gaggle of designated hitter options. Chris Carter is projected for a .315 OBP by the fans. Kila Ka’aihue walks all day and could manage better than his RotoChamp projected .335 OBP, but how much better? Brandon Allen’s best OBP projection comes in at .337 from the fans. Of course, they should all show more power than Ramirez, but it is interesting that he is projected to out on-base them all.

There is the fact that Ramirez is facing suspension for his second failed drug test last year with Rays. In an interesting twist that came out at the winter meetings, Maury Brown reported that Ramirez may only serve a 50-game suspension instead of the required 100-game suspension. He might get some partial credit for ‘time served’ because he stayed away from baseball all season last year.

If the team likes what they see in Spring Training, they may think that Manny can help man DH once he’s back from his suspension. He’s probably fighting Kila K for a spot on the 40-man roster, and the 28-year-old former prospect has done nothing but walk (12%) in his first 300-odd Major League plate appearances. The Royal important does have more years of control, so he’s in the pole position, but neither player will cost much this season. It’s still possible that Ramirez, even at this point in his career, is a better hitter than the Hawaiian.

The last piece is the fact that this is a Minor League deal. It’s a $500,000 lottery ticket on a player that was worth around six million bucks just two years ago. For a player that has skills of need at a position of need.

There’s something to like about this deal. A little something.

We hoped you liked reading Athletics Take Long Shot on Manny Ramirez by Eno Sarris!

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With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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TD
Guest
TD

Here’s why the deal makes sense for the A’s

1) Fan interest – with the Cespedes and Ramirez signings, A’s fans might actually show up to a few more games this year
2) The suspension – 50 games works out fine for the team because they can see what they have in Allen, Kila and Carter (although I’m not exactly holding my breath)
3) Contract – 1 year, 500 K is a tiny risk when the reward is that Manny could hit better than the other DH options out there who are asking for more money
4) Reward – If Manny hits, then the A’s are a better ball club/he could be traded for another piece to help the A’s contend when they move in to their new ballpark in the next 3-100 years

pft
Guest
pft

Nailed it.

FWIW, BP’s 2012 annual has him projected for 2.7 WARP (more than Crawfords 2.1 WARP projection).

Surprised the Yankees did not go after him.

Barkey Walker
Guest
Barkey Walker

I’d be surprised to see any number north of 0 WAR from Ramirez. I think there is a post-PED crash that A Rod. is experiencing right now and that Ramirez experienced about a year earlier. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have an OBP of 0.250 and an iso below 0.100, in the minors.

TD
Guest
TD

Post PED crash from A-Rod? He put up 4.2 WAR in 99 games last year…if Ramirez crashes like that I think that A’s fans will be mighty pleased.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Just like Balfour and Fuentes were flipped last year and paying them ~9mil combined… I guess they can always be flipped sometime this year (after they’ve probably been paid ~13mil at that point, seems like a good value). Remember when Beane was “arbitraging” the reliever market last year and signing these guys to 2 year deals (and nearly 18mil totals) was a good thing?

Why is every Beane move talked up as “he could always be flipped”.?

Manny will have 30-40 games prior to the trade deadline? No compensation with the new CBA? (not that he would under the old system) What exactly is he getting traded for with maybe 40 games under his belt?

TD
Guest
TD

Why is every Beane move talked up as “he could always be flipped”.?

Because he flips a huge amount of his players…

Regarding Fuentes and Balfour, they are still under contract so its not like we would lose them for nothing, they can still be flipped, and are less valuable than a SP or a bat.