Welcome to New York, CC Sabathia. The big lefty will put on pinstripes tomorrow and the first question he gets will probably be what he thinks about signing Manny Ramirez.
The Manny-to-the-Yankees music was deep in the background last week. But with every day that passes, it gets a little louder. It’s a product, I think, of there not being much news since the Winter Meetings. But it’s out there.
As I’ve written here before, it would be a bad idea. The odds of the Yankees getting the committed version of Manny who showed up in Los Angeles are slim. This is a guy who has said on the record he does not like pressure or attention and wants a long-term contract. So bringing him to New York on a short-term deal would not seem to make much sense.
You get the idea that some in the Yankees organization want Manny and others do not. Those who care about the YES ratings want it. Those who know baseball are against it. Count Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi in the second group.
Some people are obsessed with how many runs the Yankees will score next season without “a big bat” added to the lineup. You should be more obsessed with run differential. Here are the top eight teams in the AL last season in terms of runs scored:
Two of them made the playoffs. Four were .500 or below. The Yankees finished third. If the Yankees have proven one thing since 2000 it’s that you can’t mash your way to success. To win in October you need four good starters, a good bullpen and players who aren’t worn out.
Manny would be the next version of Gary Sheffeld, a big-name slugger who was forced on Cashman and Joe Torre. Sheff sure hit a lot of balls hard. But how did the Yankees do?
A lineup of aging DH types is not the way to win in the post-steroids era. The game is changing and will continue to evolve.
Finally, I will leave you with this question: If signing Manny is such a wonderful idea, why has only one team made him an offer so far?
UPDATE, 4:31 p.m.: Here is what Buster Olney wrote today:
Here’s something any executive thinking about signing Manny should consider before giving him a multiyear deal: If he gets a two-, three- or four-year deal, it probably will represent the last big-money contract he will receive — and what exactly will compel him to play hard for the duration of the deal?
Once Manny signs his next big-money deal, the financial carrot that seemed to drive him in August and September will be gone, so an employer who gives him a multiyear deal will be wholly dependent on his competitive integrity.
Good luck with that.
UPDATE, 4:46 p.m.: Getting e-mails from people who think I hate Manny. Are you kidding? I’m a beat writer for a paper in New York that covers the Yankees. Manny would be gold in terms of having something to write about. I hope they sign him because there will be one story after another once he starts acting up.
But what benefits me personally is not the point. I’m trying to be honest in my appraisal of the situation. It’s a good baseball debate. Manny has a lot of pros and cons and they’re sharply defined.
I personally think they would be making a mistake to trust him. But as a writer? Bring it on. Joe Girardi managing Manny Ramirez is a sit com waiting to happen.