By Brady Stiff
At long last, Manny Ramirez is coming to the South Side. This deal has been rumored for weeks now, basically since the trading deadline passed without the White Sox trading for Adam Dunn. Instead of sending a prospect or two back to Los Angeles, the White Sox will pay the rest of Manny’s salary, close to $4 million.
Some might view this waiver claim as a victory for the White Sox, some might say they should have stayed away from Manny, but we all can agree on one thing. There’s probably going to be plenty of fireworks at US Cellular Field, whether it’s Manny hitting homers or Ozzie Guillen letting Manny have it.
The White Sox will definitely be the biggest story on the Chicago sports scene as they try to catch the Twins, and I think Manny can only help at this point. They’ve needed a legitimate DH ever since the beginning of the season, and this gives them exactly that. After not re-signing Jim Thome in the offseason, they were left with the likes of Mark Kotsay at DH.
We all know that Manny is next to useless in left field, or anywhere on defense for that matter, but many still consider him to be one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time. While he’s only played in 66 games this season, he’s hitting .311, with an OBP of .405 and an OPS of .915, which is among the league leaders.
We all know that there was no way Manny was going to return to the Dodgers, especially with the McCourt situation. They simply wouldn’t be able to pay him, no matter how justifiable or unjustifiable his salary demands will be. I have my doubts about the White Sox being able to pay him either, but they’re probably more likely to be able to, if I had to pick between the two.
Think back to 2008, around the trade deadline. Manny was extremely unhappy in Boston and he wasn’t keeping any secrets about it. He gets traded to the Dodgers, and propels them all the way to the NLCS. A revitalized Manny Ramirez took the Dodgers to the playoffs and quickly past the Cubs before losing to the eventual World Series Champion Phillies. If the same sort of thing happens to the White Sox, their fans will be quick to forget Manny’s past transgressions.
What transgressions you ask? Well, there was that steroids thing. Manny was suspended for 50 games at the beginning of last season, and even though he denies everything, served his time without incident and all indications are that he’s been clean ever since. Why shouldn’t Manny get a second chance? Alex Rodriguez is an admitted steroid user, and has won a World Series. As is Andy Pettite.
With US Cellular Field being a hitter’s ballpark, Manny Ramirez should thrive in his new environment, as long as he can get along with Ozzie, Kenny, and Jerry Reinsdorf. I don’t think Reinsdorf will be an issue, since he’s the one who had to sign off on paying Manny’s salary.
Never did I think I’d see the day where I watched more White Sox baseball than Cubs baseball, but I think that might be the case this fall.