Saturday, April 9, 2011

Manny Ramirez Retires

If you haven't heard, Manny Ramirez has announced his retirement. Reports indicate that he failed another PED drug test, and was informed he would need to serve a 100-game suspension, and he told the MLB he was retiring.

The point of this post isn't really to discuss whether or not Manny Ramirez belongs in the Hall of Fame, because it's pretty clear he does -- if you can get past the PED issue. He is one of the best hitting Outfielders of all time, and he is in the top 25 in Homers, RBIs, and Adjusted OPS. It is difficult to argue against Manny Ramirez's Hall of Fame candidacy assuming the voters eventually decide to let PED users in.

The real point here is how Manny retired. First of all, he didn't inform the Rays first that he was retiring -- the MLB Office had to call the Rays and tell them. That alone is kind of disrespectful on Manny's part, and probably does a little more damage to his already questionable reputation. It also leaves the Rays in an undesirable situation, which I will get to later.

The other thing is that he clearly does not have a PR guy looking out for him. Unlike every other potential Hall of Fame player who has used PEDs, Manny Ramirez was essentialy forced to retired because of his drug use. Other PED usersretired essentially under their own power, and played out their careers after they tested positive. Alex Rodriguez, when he retires, will not be immediatley remembered for PEDs (in theory), for instance. Any time Manny Ramirez is discussed, any biography of him that is ever written, people will be forced to note that he retired after a failed drug test because he did not want to serve the 100-game suspension.

Anyway, that's really it for discussing Manny himself, but the other question here is how the Rays will deal with him leaving. If my understanding of contracts is correct, if a player retires, the otherwise "guaranteed" contract is no longer guaranteed, so at least the frugal Rays are off the hook for the majority of Manny's two million dollar salary. The real issue is that early season trends really seemed to indicate that Manny Ramirez was going to be their full time DH for the most part, somewhere Manny probably could have excelled in the long run (he did start the season rather slow). Manny started at DH for every game he was with the Rays and not dealing with his "family problems" which in retrospect may have dealt with the PED issue. He also got the same amount of at-bats as starters did during Spring Training. So the Rays plan this season was for Manny to get around 450 at-bats, and be a presence in their line-up. Now they don't have that because of Manny's indiscretion, and it is hard to see where they will go from here given that they don't have a huge presence of great power-hitting prospects in their system who are ready to go.

In general, I am sure the Tampa Bay Rays front office is not happy with the way their plan has been dismantled tihs season between Evan Longoria's injury and Manny Ramirez's retirement.

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