In recent days, stories have broke about the Yankees interest in bringing over former Red Sox, Manny Ramirez. The Yankees, who reportedly were considering a 3 year contract with a net worth near 60-something million dollars- would look to add Ramirez, in hopes of giving the team a 1-2 punch of Manny and Mr. Rodriguez, similar to the way the Red Sox had Ramirez and Ortiz hitting back to back, during their two championship runs. The feeling amongst Yankee fans seems to be 60-40 in favor of NOT making such a drastic move. Most Yankee fans find the idea of Manny in pinstripes as a nauseating one, but even nay-sayers, can’t understate the fact that if the Yankees add Ramirez to next seasons roster- we would be looking at a roster, that on paper, would be about as impressive as any team you will see in a lifetime.
Despite the fact that the rumors are saying that the Yankees brass, for the most part, don’t favor the pursuit of Ramirez, with a looming Mark Teixeira signing with the Red Sox, it certainly is worth discussing Manny and the Yankees- in the forum of my blog (as well as at the less important, Executive HQ of the New York Yankees in Tampa, Florida).
The biggest concern with Manny Ramirez, would be the motivation factor. The way he behaved in Boston at the end of his tenure there was an embarrassment for the team, and most of all, Manny Ramirez. But when Manny hit the field in Dodger Stadium, overnight- Manny became a player who created a folklore similar to the Legend of John Henry and his hammer. One by one he slugged them out of the park with his trusted hammer, and created enough of a buzz, before the Dodgers season died. Slugging his team into the playoffs, creating MVP buzz based on two months worth of play, and making, what could be, his very brief stay in L.A., as memorable of a team moment as any the Dodgers have had since Kirk Gibson limped the bases in ’88. Manny suddenly found himself playing with a chip on his shoulder, wanting to prove the critics, the fans who held up “Manny Who?” signs in Fenway after his trade, and the Red Sox organization that he was as important of a piece of that team, as anyone else- and to an extent Manny proved just that. He made, the season of .500 baseball in Los Angeles, a feel good season for the city and the team. And he did it all single handedly, at the age of 37.
It was the kind of two months a players has, that would define any other players career. But not Manny’s.
If Manny joined the Yankees, the motivation would be there. You’d be looking at a man who will face his old friends 19 times a season. And who would see the words “Boston”, every time he saw a standings box. And is there anything more certain, that if the Yankees made the playoffs, this guy wouldn’t crumble under the pressure the way the Yankees lineup has in the past several seasons? But I think the tightrope act, that could become “Manny being Manny (New York Edition)”, in the end will be too risky for the Yankees. I mean, the first thing Ramirez MIGHT be asked to do is cut his hair and shave his face, and already- within the first 15 minutes of a Yankee-Manny marriage, you’d be walking on eggshells with him.
But in the end, you have to ask yourself- if Manny Ramirez’s talent was inside any other body in the Major Leagues, the Yankees would have had him locked up the second he hit the open market. I just urge Yankee fans to think about the way they felt when they got word that Ramirez was leaving Boston. The jubilation was through the roof. The era had ended, and Manny wasn’t going to torment your team anymore. Well here’s a chance to make the tormentor, the “tormente”.
If the Red Sox land Mark Teixeria, the way it looks like they’re going to, the Yankees will find themselves with a decision to make- is Manny Ramirez’s production, really worth the potential he carries with him to break up a team and clubhouse?A Texieria signing, suddenly takes away some of the steam the Yankees have built up in the last week, and in the time it takes for Teixeria’s signature to hit the dotted line, the Yankees and Red Sox will be viewed as CO-WINNERS, in this season’s off-season free agent signing. A headline that Hank and Hal wouldn’t want to share with anyone, let alone the mortal enemy up north. But after only filling about 40 of the 88 million that came off the Yankees payroll, a new Stadium, a falling economy, the high rise in Yankee tickets prices, and the disappointment of last year- no one can say for sure that the Yankees would rule out dropping one more big bird shit on the head of the rest of Major League Baseball and the Boston Red Sox.
The moment of truth will come if the Sox sign Teixeria. Will Hank and Hal have the willpower to say no to one of baseballs all-time and current greatest hitters despite the baggage he brings?
That is to be determined.