It’s perhaps the most interesting free agent question of the winter: does Manny Ramirez land a job this winter? He can still hit, even if he is no longer the dominating force at the plate he was a few years ago. However, injuries and suspensions have kept him off the field for large parts of the past two seasons, and once again, his time with an organization ended poorly. His reputation for being aloof is well known, and to top it off, he’s still a brutal defender who probably needs to be relegated to DH’ing at this point in his career, limiting his potential suitors mostly to AL teams. Oh, also, he’ll be 39 next year.
There are a lot of reasons to think that Ramirez won’t be able to find work this winter. There’s one big reason to think he will: he can still hit. Even in a down year, he’s put up a .306/.409/.472 line. That kind of offensive performance is not easy to find, and a potentially healthy Ramirez is likely to still be among the best hitters in the game next year, even at an advanced age. He’s less than what he used to be, but still far more than a lot of major league hitters.
It’s not a great year to be a DH looking for a job, given the other bat-only options that will be available this winter, but Ramirez probably carries the best bat of the bunch. He also carries the most baggage. I could see teams pursuing him in an attempt to bolster their offense, and I could see the entire league saying “no thanks”, essentially doing to Manny what teams did to Gary Sheffield last winter.
So, I’ve added a new option to the contract crowdsourcing form – 0 years and 0 dollars per year. If you think Manny will not be able to find work this winter, select those from the drop-down menu. Otherwise, the form is the same, and you guys can project what Ramirez will get as a bat for hire this winter.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.