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Thinking about retirement?I was just over at MVN, where they note that Manny has been working hard this offseason to avoid a repeat of 2007, where he started slow and wound up hurt (it’s well worth reading for their take on his numbers). They quote Peter Gammons, who says Ramirez has become “a maniacal workout warrior in Tempe Arizona” at the Athletes’ Performance Institute.

Yet oddly enough, last year Manny supposedly showed up to Spring Training “in the best shape of his career” as well. Don’t be fooled—under that baggy, pajama-like uni, the man is rock-hard. So either he overtrained and ended up hurting himself (not likely) or he did his best and ended up hurt anyway (likelier, and more frightening). After all, the man is 35—remember when all sluggers used to start declining at 35, instead of growing second jawbones?—and the team needs Such a happy Manny!to stop thinking of him as the 150-game guy he used to be and start thinking of him as the 130-game guy he’s been for the past two seasons. Why not rest him against the Rays and the Royals throughout the season? Then maybe he won’t need a month off near the end. Or let him DH every now and then and give Ortiz the night off (for the ol’ knee). With a little more caretaking from the Sox, Manny should be able to produce at a useful level for another 3-4 years, surely. And when you consider that he’s only going to make $2 million more than Andruw Jones next year, he starts to sound almost like a bargain.

I don’t think you’ll see Manny having a 2007-like year again this year. After all, it was only in 2006 that he hit 35 dingers (in 130 games) and compiled a .439 OBP. And the man positively caught fire during the 2007 postseason, coming back after month-long break and showing absolutely no signs of rust. His work ethic is famous and his eye is unerring. (If you ever see him take a called strike three, I guarantee you the ump botched the call. Guarantee it.) So I see no reason why, with a little care and Plenty of walkoff homers left to hit.feeding, he can’t continue to protect David Ortiz in the lineup for years to come.

I think Manny Ramirez wants to retire with the Red Sox. I know, it’s been a tumultuous, on-again-off-again love affair between Boston and Manny—the trade demands, the Manny Moments, that incident with the waivers—but Manuel has two World Series rings with this team now. He and Boston have finally made peace with one another. Plus, he’s just 10 homers shy of his 500th round-tripper. He’s got a lifetime average of .313, a lifetime OBP of .409, and a lifetime OPS of 1.002. To me, he’s an easy first-ballot Hall of Famer. If he retires with Boston, they’re sure to retire his number. Is he really going to walk away from that? And is Theo really going to let him? I don’t think so.

20 Responses to “Manny Ramirez: Declining, maybe, but far from done.”

  1. Funny, I wrote an article on the same subject and even used the same Gammons quote, then left a link to it on MVN about a week before they ran their story.

    Ethan Michaels

    http://modernrooters.blogspot.com/

  2. Manny’s number cannot retire as a redsox player because he didnt play his whole career with boston

  3. Not true, Dan.

    Carlton Fisk’s number is retired.

  4. If that’s the case (not playing his entire career w/ sox) then explain that sign with the #27 hanging from the wall in right field. I think they named the left field pole after that same guy…..

  5. Sarah Green says:

    The rules are 10 years with the Sox and election to the Hall of Fame. You also have to retire with the team (hence Pudge’s brief stint as a “team advisor” after he stopped playing). Manny has had seven years with the Sox so far, so it he only needs three more seasons with the team to make the cut.

  6. Nick Kapur says:

    It’s always been weird to me that the Sox have such strict rules about retiring numbers. I find it odd both that they absolutely cannot retire someone’s number if they are not in the Hall of Fame, and equally odd that they would be compelled to retire someone’s number if they fit the conditions.

    All the other teams allow themselves the leeway to make judgement calls and exceptions based on which players meant the most to their team and their fans.

  7. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, I don’t think anywhere it says that the Red Sox are “compelled” to retire someone’s number if he fits the conditions! Where are you getting that?

    I think it’s just that if you had a player who was in the Hall, and who had played with the team for 10 years, and who retired with the team….why would you ever NOT retire such a man’s number?

    Plus, it prevents sluttish number retiring a la a certain team from the Bronx.

  8. Nick Kapur says:

    Well, it’s just weird to me that they have any rules for it at all.

    Retiring numbers is an honor a team bestows on a player for fundamentally emotional and less-than-rational reasons. So it’s just a tiny bit odd to me that alone of all the teams, the Sox have specific requirements.

  9. I prefer that teams have some sort of specifications. I will never understand how the Tampa Bay Devil Rays can retire Wade Boggs’ number. The Sox and Yankees don’t, but Tampa does? What the hell?

  10. Nick Kapur says:

    Say, that’s a good point – why the heck have the Red Sox not retired Wade Boggs’s number yet???

    He’s been in the Hall 3 years now, and he played 11 seasons in Boston, so he meets the criteria. Was it just because he later went to the Yankees?

  11. Sarah Green says:

    Oh, but Paul, that was their Devil’s bargain. They agreed to retire his number, and he’d go into the Hall in a Tampa Bay hat. They worked out the deal when he signed with them! That’s what led the HOF to decide players wouldn’t be able to choose which hats they wore on their plaques.

  12. Sarah Green says:

    @ Nick, he didn’t retire with Boston. And there seems to be sufficiently bad blood between him and the Sox that he wouldn’t take one of those yearlong “advisory” positions. Still, they might have reached some kind of agreement had he not made that rather tacky deal with the Rays.

  13. Forgot about that. Yeah. That’s just terrible.

  14. On Coco and Manny:

    The Sox would be better off targeting a prospect with pop (only Lars Anderson has homer potential) for Coco rather than a catcher in a trade. No club is going to move a legit catching prospect for a light hitting CF. With that being said, they should not deal Coco for two reasons. 1) His value can’t be any lower right now – terrible year at the plate and most contending clubs have filled their centerfield voids. Even though Coco was great in the field, hitters usually don’t fall off the table in their mid-to-late 20’s without some kind of reason. Maybe Coco still isn’t over his finger injury? I’m bullish on Coco. 2) As you mentioned, Manny will need some M-B-M time. The most opportune time would be on the road against RHSP and with a flyball Sox starter on the mound. Ellsbury in a bigger left would be a nice upgrade defensively. Manny getting a day off or DHing thereby giving Ortiz, Youk or Lowell a blow works too.

  15. Dude, don’t kill El Guapo.

    Anyhow, you make a fair point regarding CoCo. But to play devil’s advocate a bit, it’s going to be difficult to up his trade value if you can’t find him the at-bats and innings needed to show off his skills. It’s definitely not impossible, but it’s harder.

  16. Sarah Green says:

    Ghosty, I’ll agree with Paul’s devil’s advocacy, that it’s hard to increase a man’s trade value without giving him more playing time, and I doubt Crisp will see much of that if he stays with Boston.

    I’m a bit confused by Coco Crisp. I really expected him to bounce back, offensively, last season. But he didn’t. I, too, would consider myself bullish on Coco, but I don’t think him staying with the Red Sox is necessarily in his best interests, or in the best interests of the team. He’s in a weird place now where he’s too good to really be a bench player, but not quite good enough to have the starting spot on the Boston Red Sox (unless you want to kidnap JD Drew, stick Ellsbury in right, and leave Coco in center—I’d be down with that). I don’t want him to get all grumpy, Jay Payton-style, and yet if he’s cool being the backup, hey, I’ll take a fourth OF with speed and a great glove. But you’ve got to start Jacoby Ellsbury. You’ve simply got to. And you don’t want *too* many games without either Ortiz or Ramirez. And we seem to be stuck with Drew. So that just makes Crisp the odd man out. I’d rather get something for him than nothing. And since what the Red Sox really need is a catching prospect, I’d rather see them get one of those. Before the Rangers got Josh Hamilton at the end of December, I dreamed up quite a nice little scenario involving Coco Crisp and Texas prospect Taylor Teagarden. Oh well.

  17. Nick Kapur says:

    Wait, I’m just curious, but if the Sox did trade Crisp, who becomes the new 4th outfielder? Because between injuries and Manny being Manny and JD Drew being JD Drew, I’m guessing that Crisp would still get a lot of playing time. And if not Crisp, then you are going to want someone fairly competent, because you can still expect them to get 250 ABs or so, and you are going to want someone who can pull their weight…

  18. Sarah Green says:

    Coco Crisp has gotten over 400 ABs every year but his rookie year. He would be a GREAT bench player for the Red Sox, but that’s because he’s not really a bench player. What are their other options? Well, Brandon Moss got some ABs at the end of the season as an outfielder, and has been learning first base in the offseason to enhance his usefulness as a bench player. And Bobby Kielty is still available. Besides, there’s always someone who fits the fourth-OFer profile available at midseason.

  19. Nick Kapur says:

    Well, I’m just wondering, because while Moss or Kielty might fly as bench guys, now that the Sox have traded away Murphy and Pena, if they trade away Crisp too and somebody gets hurt (always a possibility with JD Drew), you definitely wouldn’t want either of those guys starting everyday at a corner outfield spot, and midseason is a long time to wait until…

    At this point, if I were the Sox, I’d just hold onto Crisp. I think they actually really need him. I mean, Wily Mo had no business being a bench player either, but the Sox had no qualms about using him as such. I don’t think the Sox really care whose career they set back – they can afford to overpay guys who would easily be starters elsewhere to be glorified bench players at the Fens, and that is what they do.

  20. Sometimes not getting a lot of attention and fanfare is a good thing. It puts on less pressure. I expect Kendrick to have another great season.

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