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Posted By Josh Muller On Feb 21 2012 @ 3:55 pm In Oakland A's | 9 Comments

The Oakland A’s [1] have reached an agreement with free agent outfielder, Manny Ramirez, for one year at $500 thousand on a minor league contract.

Manny will have to serve a 50 game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs before he joins the A’s so the earliest he will be in the lineup is June 2. Because of his suspension and the fact that he doesn’t exactly have the best clubhouse reputation over the course of his career, there will undoubtedly be some negativity surrounding this move from fans and players alike.

I can understand why. From a fan’s perspective, he cheated. The baseball world is just getting over the steroid era and a lot of people won’t want that tarnished memory around the A’s, almost especially since the A’s are not expected to compete.

From a player’s perspective, it potentially takes a roster spot away from a younger guy trying to earn his way onto the team. Going into the offseason, the A’s were short on outfielders but most thought they would give guys like Michael Taylor and Chris Carter a chance to play everyday to see what they could do. Now, the A’s almost have too many outfielders and they just added Manny to be the DH. Someone is likely to lose playing time and may even get traded as a result.

My answer to the fans is pretty simple:

To the A’s fans who look at this signing as a negative, remember that it is basically a no risk/high reward situation. First, the A’s are paying him just over the league minimum salary; even for the Oakland, that contract, which is prorated and won’t pay him during the suspension, won’t be detrimental. More importantly, it’s a minor league contract, which doesn’t guarantee Manny a roster spot.


Does Manny Ramirez have anything left in the tank?

The A’s will have 50 games with which to find an in-house solution at the DH. If Chris Carter/Seth Smith/ Johnny Gomes earns that spot, the A’s can cut Manny and not think twice about it. If no one grabs the reigns, on June 2 you plug in a guy with a career .312/.411/.585 slash line and 555 home runs to his resume.

My answer to the players who think Manny will take their spot is even simpler:

If you want to play in the big leagues: EARN IT. You don’t just get to play in the show because you’re 25 and you’re entering your prime. You have to prove that you are ready and quite frankly (even though I wanted to see them play) guys like Michael Taylor, Chris Carter and Brandon Allen haven’t done that. If you think that signing a guy who sat out almost all of last year and who will be forty by the time he is allowed to play this year threatens your chances to make the team, then you have bigger problems. Spring training is about showing the decision makers what you can do.

The A’s have been so devoid of anything that resembles a capable offense lately that if you prove you can hit, they will find a spot for you in that lineup. Period. So stop making excuses and go play baseball.

There’s one more angle at which to look at this situation. The A’s just invested $36 million in Cuban outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes [3], in the hopes he will provide the power the A’s so desperately covet. I have no idea what the relationship between he and Manny would be but I would think it could be positive. I know they’re both from different countries (Manny is Dominican) but they are both Latin and I would think that the A’s have at least hoped that Manny could act as a mentor to Cespedes. Who knows maybe they’ve expressed this already to Manny. But Cespedes, a guy with all the physical tools in the world, could learn a lot from Manny, who is arguably the best right handed hitter ever and took a similar path to the big leagues. It certainly couldn’t hurt. Then again, we are talking about Manny Ramirez.

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[1] Oakland A’s: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/sports/mlb-baseball/oakland-as/

[2] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2012/02/manny-ramirez.jpeg

[3] Yoenis Cespedes: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2012/02/13/as-get-cespedes-for-436-million/

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