I wrote a couple of Manny Ramirez rumor posts--a tawdry habit I must kick--and after two I resigned myself to say nothing on the matter until it became real.
Well, as all reasonably active media outlets are reporting, Manny Ramirez is headed to the White Sox. I believed the event was best summed up by Jim Margulus of Sox Machine on Twitter:
"PEANUT BUTTER MANNY TIME! PEANUT BUTTER MANNY TIME! PEANUT BUTTER MANNY! PEANUT BUTTER MANNY! PEANUT BUTTER MANNY WITH A BASEBALL BAT!"
Now that it looks like Mannyworld is coming to Chicago, we should probably start thinking about what the hell is going to happen.
Manny is 38 years not young, and has all the speed and fielding acumen of the decapitated horsehead that appears in the bed during The Godfather. So, the designated hitter slot is his, and he should do well. When healthy--which has been kinda like saying "when flying in a magical spaceship" this year--Manny is still a professional hitter who's racked up an OPS over .900 and a wOBA of .392 (That's right, I'm into wOBA now! Deal with it!). Also he should profit from moving from a pitcher's park in Chavez Ravine to U.S. Celllular Bandbox. It's all so...um...exciting...I guess.
It's been plenty overstated already that this does nothing to solve a bullpen problem that's just so, so awful right now with everyone worth a damn on the DL, and Erick Threets too. But a less focused on aspect is that the White Sox have had the best offense in baseball for the last month, in no small part due to the South Siders finally getting production from the crop of DH's they just bought an expensive replacement for. Mark Teahen's hit for a .950 OPS this month, Mark Kotsay has provided .860, hell, even Andruw Jones has put up a 1.073 OPS in 28 at-bats. This isn't to say that Manny isn't an upgrade, it's just that it's like giving the first pair of bionic legs to Usain Bolt....there are better candidates for help.
Hard to say how giddy Ramirez will be to transfer from one team with dashed playoff hopes to another less notable team with dashed playoff hopes, and I'd say that he's in a somewhat surly mood given that he was ejected after one pitch during a pinch-hitting at bat in his last appearance with the Dodgers. Still, he'll probably enjoy the change in scenery and the temporary fan frenzy surrounding him. It might even produce a performance surge similar to the one he enjoyed when he joined the Dodgers in 2008.
At the least, and probably the most, Manny will provide a reason to keep watching the Sox for the last month as they fade out of contention, and really, that's probably why he was acquired. Kenny Williams has been talking about how their personnel actions are being determined by walkup attendance--an utterly absurd notion, the idea that a Major League Baseball team is making multi-million dollar financial decisions based daily attendance returns is beyond fatuous--so a deal to trade for a crowd attraction isn't out of the question at all.
Manny brings the excitement of a big-name, fun-to-watch player, but there's also the frustration that we haven't solved any of our problems, and the White Sox have acquired a player they liked who is massively past his prime for the umpteenth time. It's hard to get critical over this deal because it appears that the White Sox will get Manny for a straight waiver claim (just like I recommended!). But for all the times that we've had to satisfy for entertaining sideshows over well-built winners, you'd think Bill Veeck was still in charge.