April 20, 2014

Manny Ramirez Teases Nostalgic Clevelanders

manny-ramirez-sports-illustratedA big story making the rounds today is in regard to former Tribe outfielder and current Los Angles Dodger Manny Ramirez and his recent thoughts on wanting to finish his career in Cleveland.  You know, the place where it all started?  “I think to go back where you started is everyone’s dream,” claims Ramirez.

The baseball fan in me first thought, “Wait.  This guy just signed a huge contract with the Dodgers.  He went most of spring training in a hold out of sorts, waiting for just the exact deal to hit the table.  It’s now exactly ONE week into the season (let alone his brand new $40 million contract) and he’s already talking about where he wants to go next?”

And that was shortly followed by, “Oh man.  This is just what is needed right now with the team off to a terrible start and a good chunk of the city still clinging to the memories of the late 1990s.”  To add a little more excitement to the proverbial mix, Ramirez has also reportedly been in contact with Jim Thome (also a former Tribe slugger) who wil be a free agent at the end of this season.  Theoretically, both players could hit the market this summer and return to their roots. 

Or return back to the city that they left when they actually had a chance to stay here and help win some baseball games.  The place that they said that they wanted to play in for the rest of their careers, until the contracts were actually signed.  The same city that refused to overpay for their services during every renegotiation.  That’s the city that they’d like to return to now that it is convenient for them, both now in their late 30s. 

“Manny was very sincere when he brought that up to me,” Thome said. “Manny was saying how special that would be for us to both go back together. He was very passionate. Baseball’s such a weird thing. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Well, I can tell you what won’t happen: Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez coming back to Cleveland.  It’s not saying that I wouldn’t welcome them both back; they would put a ton of fans in the seats, and a few baseballs in the bleachers.  But to say that this team has moved on without Manny and Jim Thome would be an understatement.

Thome will likely never see a baseball glove again for the remainder of his career.  Alas, his position of designated hitter is currently occupied by one Travis Hafner – he of the four years and $57 million left on his contract.  Even if you take the 2013 club option out of the mix (assuming that the Indians do not want to pay him $13 million in said year), there is zero chance that Hafner will have significant trade value if the team wanted to make room for Thome. 

“I love L.A. I really do. But the way the city responded to me, it reminded me a lot of how it was in Cleveland.”

Only Manny Ramirez would say that Los Angeles, California reminds him of Cleveland, Ohio.  I’ve been to both areas, and not once did I say, “Hey, this is just like back home!”  Regardless, it also says a lot that the city he “loves” is the city he’s already planning on evacuating if the time is right. 

For those that are really considering a return of Ramirez next season, consider a couple of things.  One, this team is young.  Sure, Victor Martinez is a cagey veteran, but look around the rest of the team.  The average age on this team is 27-years.  Adding a 38-year old left fielder and his designated hitting counterpart would not be in line with what this team has in store for the future.

The future is currently located in Columbus, Ohio in the form of Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley.

michael-brantley-mlbLaPorta, just turning 24-years old, has had one of the best starts in all of Triple-A baseball.  Through his first three games, the slugger is batting .625/.667/1.500 with a home run, a triple, two doubles and four runs scored.  Brantley, who will turn 22-years old in a month, is not doing too bad himself.  In four games played, Brantley is hitting .467/.529/.600 with a triple, a stolen base and two walks to his lone strikeout. 

Obviously, those splits are not sustainable, but what I’m pointing out is that these are the guys that Mark Shapiro traded his ace starting pitcher for last season.  These are the guys that the team is banking on being their next Belle/Lofton.  There is no sense in actually going back and signing Albert Belle and Kenny Lofton simply based on what they meant to this city back in the mid-1990s.  Sure, Manny and Thome actually still playing makes that comparison a bit of a stretch, but that doesn’t change the fact that as much as it would be “fun” to have both Ramirez and Thome back with the Tribe, it is merely a nostalgic pipedream.

One that makes no sense both financially and from a baseball standpoint for the future of the Cleveland Indians.  As a collective fan base, we should embrace the present and look forward to the future.  Yes, the mid-90s were a good time, but they’re long gone.  The economics, the payroll, you name it – it’s different.  Those major markets can have those guys on the downside of their carreer.I don’t know about you all, but I’ll gladly sit and wait for the days of Brantley and LaPorta.

Manny Ramirez would love second shot with Indians [Bob Nightengale/USA Today]

  • http://www.NoLogoNeeded.com Don_NoLogoNeeded.com

    I highly doubt a Thome and Ramirez singing in the winter of 2009 will result in 95 wins in 2010.

    I’m not too up on baseball, but from what I remember, they’re not pitchers, right?

  • http://baseballdigest.com Michael

    Its amazing how fast a silly question asked to an athlete can create such a buzz and become overblown. There is no way this would ever happen. The Indians would have 3 DH’s!

  • Alex

    From what I understand, Manny has been privately saying this for years that he would like to come back to Cleveland and has occasionally called the front office to ask for them to trade for him… I’d love to see him back in a Tribe uniform but then again I’d also like to see DA in something other than a Browns uniform next season but both are not likely going to happen

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    “The future is currently located in Columbus, Ohio in the form of Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley.”

    DING DING DING!!!

    Scott wins. The quicker those guys, plus Crowe, Huff and the rest develop the brighter the future looks for the Indians.

  • Nicko

    @2 Exactly

    This would be the meat of your lineup.

    Thome – DH
    Manny – DH
    Hafner – DH

  • adam

    in the fall of 2007 i got beat down by a handful of boston fans for saying “manny is a true indian”

    I was right

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    Hey, Adam. Remember me from Kindahgahden? [Right hook]

  • Ricky

    You like apples, Boston? When Manny is going to Cooperstown, he will be putting on an Indians hat, not a Red Sox hat. How do you like them apples?

    I understand how unrealistic it would be to sign Manny, but how freaking awesome would that be? Maybe do like a 10 day contract like the NBA does. They could sell 10 game ticket packages for the games Manny will be playing. I would buy them.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Craig

    Hey guys? He won a World Series in Boston. I wanted Manny in his prime.

    I am with Rick. I don’t want the steaming pile of corpse that is Manny at 39 years old. As an Indians fan, I shouldn’t have to grasp onto the past like that. I want the future. Preferably, I would like a future where the Indians develop enough talent to overcome their lack of resources in free agency. The only way to out-gun big market teams is through players in the system who are better than the ones that hit the open market.

    We need Grady, LaPorta, and company to be better than Teixiera, Sabathia and company…

    Money Ramirez isn’t a part of that equation, really.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    @ #2 and @5 – offense wins championships.

  • Chris M

    Just playing Devil’s advocate, if Manny opts out of his contract after this year ( which he can do ) and offers his services for the minimum, you just shun him away? The guy can still hit at 38, and barring a disastrous injury, he’ll do it at 39 too. He still had a better year at the plate last year than anyone on this team.

    I realize a few of you may still be upset that he left, but lets not rush to judgment.

  • Chad

    Does anyone remember that little documentary ESPN did on Manny’s free agency the summer he went to Boston. Boras actually agreed to the Indians offer for Manny, which was a little lower than Boston’s and Manny was all excited that he was coming back to the Tribe. It wasn’t until the next day Manny found out he was going to Boston because they offered him an additional year and something like 40 million more (I’m trying to remember if that was the actual dollar amount). That’s one reason why I don’t get why he’s booed every time he’d play in Cleveland. Manny was one of my favorite players when he was with the Tribe and will always be when he isn’t. I don’t think he’ll opt out of his second year with LA, but if he wanted to sign a cheap one year contract to platoon and to end his career in Cleveland I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all.

    Thome, I’m not so sure he would or would even want to come back. I also have no doubt that when Omar decides to hang them up he will retire as a Cleveland Indian and probably be offered a coaching job within the organization.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com Cleveland Frowns

    The only way this happens is either if it happens when Manny is in the absolute twilight of his career ala Willie Mays on the Mets or if Manny takes considerably less than market value for his services. Would be happy to see either of those, but much happier to see the latter.

  • The Bambino

    Twilight of his career? Steaming pile of corpse?
    Did anyone see this guy hit last year? Anyone?

    One of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time. And still is.
    Last years stats:
    .332 BA
    .601 Slugging
    .430 OBP
    1.031 OBPS

    Outrageous really. Now I’m not here to say Manny’s the answer to our problems, but jesus the guy can still rake it.

  • http://baseballdigest.com Michael

    @ #10…then why didn’t the Indians win any World Series in the ’90s? And the pitching heavy Atlanta Braves beat us in ’95?

  • Chad

    My Bad, Manny’s agent is Jeff Moorad not Boras and the Red Sox gave him 160 million and we were topping out at 138.

  • Chad

    Sorry his agent at the time was Moorad and now it’s Boras.

  • Tapin

    @Alex #3: “I’d love to see him back in a Tribe uniform but then again I’d also like to see DA in something other than a Browns uniform next season but both are not likely going to happen”

    That’s it! Let’s see if we can trade Derek Anderson to the Dodgers. LA hasn’t had football in so long, they might just think he’s a catcher or something.