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Indians Indians Archive Cleveland Indians: Manny Ramirez'(s) Reclamation
Written by Noah Poinar

Noah Poinar

Before you begin reading, first, look at the picture of Manny Ramirez which is located directly to your right.  Then, scroll down halway through this page and look at That picture of Manny.  Ok, you are now prepared to read this column. 

Mannyon Indians

On Friday, the Oakland A’s granted Manny Ramirez his requested release from the team.  When the news broke through the Twitter-sphere, Indians’ fans alike couldn't help but contemplate: Do we take a stab at Manny?

They could have done this back in March and waited out his 50 game suspension, but instead, elected to enter 2012 with just Shelly Duncan (.205/.303/.336) and Aaron Cunningham (.188/.268/.219).  Five games into the season, when the Indians began 1-4, they decided to employ Johnny Damon (.176/.264/.269).  They were willing to go after an aging Damon who turned out far worse than anyone expected, might they do the same with Manny?  Is there any reason they shouldn't?   

There are three reasons, actually:  Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Quentin, and Carlos Lee.  Three right handed left fielders who are expected to be on the trade market; three players who have more projected value than Ramirez; three players who aren’t lugging 800 pounds of baggage.  The only problem is that acquiring any of the above mentioned players will require the Indians to fork over some prospects.  Not just a couple of standard “to be named later” guys along with some cash, but young talent with plenty of upside.  The Indians don’t have a rich crop of young, talented, fast rising prospects in their farm system.  Last year at this time they had Alex White and Drew Pomeranz, the Indians 2009 and 2010 first round selections, respectively.  They flipped the two for Ubaldo Jimenez, while Jason Kipnis (2009 second round) and Lonnie Chisenhall (2008 first round) have played their way into "untradeable" status.   That’s the type of guys it’s going to take to acquire one of these profiled hitters.  Last year the Indians took 17 year old shortstop, Francisco Lindor with the 7th overall pick.  Already he's the Tribe's most riveting prospect.  He's also the type of prospect this team would likely have to part ways with in order to obtain the services of someone such as Alfonso Soriano.  Considering Asdrubal Cabrera's impending 2015 free agency, I'd say the Indians aren't parting ways with Lindor any time soon.  

Perhaps they can package together a smorgasboard of mid-level/mid-tool guys (along with Matt LaPorta) and hope it's enough to get Houston or San Diego to budge.  Or perhaps they shouldn't bother.  Conservitively speeking, they might be better off holding onto their farm and rolling the dice on Manny Ramirez.  From the chair the Indians are sitting in, he’s the biggest bargain out there.  No matter what, they'll benefit some way or the other.  


He'll bring a sudden hike in attendance, and immediately receive a overdue standing ovation.  That’s something the Indians could use right about now.  Sure, Quentin or Soriano would garner just as much, if not more excitement, as well as increase in ticket sales.  But remember, we would donate our livers if we could travel back in time to 1995 and live out the rest of the decade even if we know they never win a World Series.  We live and breath for stuff like this.  But it’s not about finding cheap ways to elevate the attendance, create buzz, or reconcile with the second most hated athlete in localized Cleveland sports.  It's about making it to October.  Does Manny help the Tribe in that regard?   When looking at his recent track record there's nothing that would indicate he's capable of helping this team.  Just look at what he did when Chicago picked him up in 2010.  In fact, you could make a case that he could hurt this team more than help.  This guy is a clubhouse cancer.  He's Manny Ramirez, the guy who has never given a crap, ever.  The guy with no wit or common sense.

But, wait...maybe we've viewed this wrong. 

We've all heard it, and I'm sure most of us have mumbled it.  Three words: Manny being Manny.  Lately, there's been some confusion with the whole Manny being Manny thing.  There's a fine line betwen "Manny being Manny" and Manny being an actual liability.  The two are not the same, but throughout the course of his career we've managed to overlap the two.  Particularly over the last five years.  His Boston days were different than his Cleveland days.  His L.A. days different than Boston, and so on down the line to his stint in Chicago and Tampa Bay.  

Within hours of ariving in Boston he ballooned to 300 pounds, grew hideous dreadlocks, began shoving senior citizens, started taking dumps during games, even vanishing behind the Green Monster in the middle of at-bats to do so.  Even in Cleveland he was still the same corky, child-like person who made a habit of stashing $750,000 paychecks in his locker, but he wasn't "Manny being Manny."  He was simply one of the youngest,  best hitters we had ever seen in the history of Cleveland Indians baseball.  

Eventually the Red Sox had had enough of him and dealt him to the Dodgers during the 2008 season.  A year after he had helped them win their second World Series in four years.  

When he arrived in L.A. we saw what looked to be a very motivated Manny Ramirez—hitting 17 home runs and driving in 53 runs in 53 games as he carried the Dodgers to (and nearly through) the post season.   But after that half season serge, it was all downhill for him.  It's when he took the whole "Manny being Manny" to another level.  Or so we think. 

mannydodgersIt all stemmed from those lasting weeks he spent in Boston.   You heard that his own antics got him shipped out of town.  You heard that he was a distraction and a locker room cancer.  You heard that he had quit on his own team. You heard that he was a liability.  But you may have heard wrong.  They ran Manny out of town more than he ran himself out, and they did it rather ruthlessly.  So much so that I can't think of a sports comparison that even comes close.  

Who's They?  

It was Scott Boras (the most powerful, greedy agent in sports) and the Boston media teaming up against Manny.  He never stood a chance.  They (mostly Boras) took a guy who innocently (and quite comically) had no clue, and they used it to their advantage, manipulated him, and essentially framed him and made it into a film, The Bourne Authority.  The Red Sox really had no choice but to comply with the whole thing, ultimately paying $7 million just to trade a player who was still producing at an all-star level for a World Series contending team. 

Why’d they do this?  They have the unenviable task of managing a highly irrational fan base that—at any moment—could set fire to the city.  And they had the discouraging challenge of negotiating with Scott Boras, who went into full fledged laundering mode—squeezing Manny for every penny he was worth, using him like a rented cash mule, and destroying his legacy as we would later see it play out.  

Just know that in the month of July leading up to the trade deadline, he had 75 at-bats, 26 hits, four homers, 16 RBI, a .473 on-base percentage and a 1.060 OPS.  Somehow we were accusing him of quitting on his team while he was putting up these numbers.  

My friends, that right there is the definiton of "Manny Being Manny."


After he became immortal in Los Angeles following 2008, the Dodgers refused to pick up his one year option for 2009 (his agent held a gun to their head and made them decline; of course, so he could make more money).   Manny hit the free agent market.   

That's when he mentioned the possibility of returning to Cleveland and teaming up with Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel one last time.  Did Boston inject him with a dose of hard justice, or was this simply Manny being Manny?  What the hell was going on?  Manny was eventually (and begrudgingly) forced to re-up with the Dodgers, inking a 1 year $20 million deal with the team that didn't really want him but had the money to do so.  You could say it was the final straw, or at least the one that broke the camels back.  Hell, it might have been one of the straws to break Frank McCourts back. 

In mid June of 2009 he was suspended 50 games for failing a drug test.  He was caught using a female fertility drug.  This was weird.  Why would a guy who is among the likes of the greatest to ever play the game—to have never been linked to steroids—tarnish himself by popping female fertility drugs?  At least go out swinging like Rafael Palmero and do the real thing, right?   I guess that's what happens when you no longer care.

The following year L.A. cut him, and the White Sox, who picked him up off waivers shortly after, soon found out why.  In 2011 he went to Tampa and played in a total of five games before promptly failing a second drug test.  He retired from baseball, moved to Italy and began beating up his wife (allegedly).  The end.

Let's just say he was a completely different guy after he left Boston; you can't even compare the two versions.  Which is why he's fairly intriguing right now.

Why did he come out of retirement at age 40 knowing he had to serve a 50-game suspension?  Why sign a measly one year, $500k, minor league deal with Oakland?  Again the easy answer is it's Manny being Manny.  When you first heard that he had requested his own release, you probably thought, “Uh-oh, here we go again, same old crap.  What a loser.”  But it isn’t like that.  Or at least it doesn't appear to be.  He looks as if he's genuine this time.  The fact that he put up good numbers in Triple-A Sacramento, hitting .303 with 14 RBI's in 17 games, is a improvement in and of itself.  I honestly expected him to jump ship before his 50 game suspension ended.  

In speaking with the media after his granted release, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Ramirez emphasized repeatedly that he wanted to thank the A’s for the opportunity to play—and he said that ‘he had enjoyed spring training with the team and playing with Sacramento enormously,’ and he said it sincerely.”  That doesn’t happen two years ago.   This isn’t Manny being Manny.  This is Manny wanting back in, and realizing that this opportunity wasn’t going to happen in Oakland.  If there were any 40 year old I'd ever have confidence in, it would be Manny Ramirez.  He's the best right handed hitter in, perhaps, the history of the game.    

Maybe he gets the chance in Cleveland?  Maybe he's looking for some sense of closure and the Indians are the only team that can provide it?   Maybe we see a rejuvenated Manny Ramirez, like we did in 2008 for L.A.?  Maybe we don't.  Maybe there's some good mojo in having three members of the 2004 Red Sox who are a combined 119 years of age?  Maybe he sparks the team by virtue of doing what he did his entire career in Cleveland and Boston when he was the crazy, giggling, goofy, guy—but also, at the same time—one of the best teammates you could ask for?  Or maybe no one picks him up and I forget about this whole thing.  Or maybe I'm a little too big of a Manny fan?  

Or maybe Manny Ramirez hasn't given a shit since he left Cleveland.  

Did you Know: Manny Ramirez once drove in 165 RBI's in a season? 

Did you know: There have been 7 teams in the history of baseball to score more than 1000 runs in a season.  One of those 7 teams is the Cleveland Indians.  In fact, to this day, the Indians remain the last team to accomplish the feat.  They did it in 1999.  The same year Ramirez hit drove in 165 RBI's, a feat that will never, ever, ever, ever be accomplished agin in the history of baseball unless they go to a 200 game schedule. 

I still firmly believe that was the best team in the history of baseball.  (It's why I'm actually still haunted by Pedro's game 5 no hitter.)  Ultimatley, what made them the best team in baseball was the fact that player's were allowed to use steroids (huge advantage over Babe Ruth and the Boys).  Guess who wasn't doing those steroids?  Manny Ramirez.  Do you know how I know this?  Because I have the internet which allows me to go onto  I also found out that Manny has the least amount of standard deviation on his yearly career home run totals spanning from 1998-2008.  He never hit more than 45 home runs, which he did twice in a 7 year span, the first in 1998 and the second in 2005. 

Please, just take a look at his home run totals right now.  Here's the link to his page.

Shouldn't this guy be honored or something; you know, for not doing steroids?  He's only in the same category with Albert Pujols and Ken Griffey Jr.  That's it.  No one else even comes close.  

I guess that's why I'd like the Indians to give him some sort of goodbye. 

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