Crystal Ball: Will Manny Play In 2012?


February 25, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics outfielder Manny Ramirez (1) swings in the batting cage during spring training at Papago Park Baseball Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Every Friday, Swingin’ A’s will make a prediction about the A’s 2012 season with the help of our “crystal ball.” The series, appropriately titled “Crystal Ball Fridays,” will continue through the week before Opening Night. Enjoy. This week, we’ll take a close look into our crystal ball to see if Manny Ramirez will actually suit up for the green-and-gold once his 50 game suspension is served.

The A’s may be rebuilding this season, but that won’t stop them from acquiring cheap, way past their prime players. Oakland’s decision to sign Manny Ramirez does contradict the whole youth-movement vibe in the clubhouse, but the signing is virtually risk-free.

For the rebuilding A’s, Manny could come to represent a cheap source of power production this year. He’ll have to serve his 50 game suspension before officially joining the A’s for big-league action, but the thinking is that once he’s completed his sentence, he’ll assume the team’s designated-hitter role.

Manny will likely see some action this spring, as he’s allowed to take part in spring training action. During that time, the A’s will keep a close eye on Manny to see if the slugger has any life left in his bat.

Many people didn’t see much from Manny last year during his short stint with the Tampa Bay Rays, though. Still, his time with the Rays was a very short stop in his 19 year career. If we look back at his 2010 campaign, it becomes clear why the A’s threw $500,000 Manny’s way this year.

While he was injury-prone that year, Manny posted solid numbers while splitting time with the Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. His .298/.409/.460 slash line from 2010 in addition to his 138 wRC+ and .382 wOBA suggest that Manny was a productive player during the 2010 season.

Well, Crystal Ball, what about now?

Missing an entire year of big league action certainly does little to help Manny and his comeback chances, but again, the A’s aren’t building their team around Manny. If he fails, fine. Move on. If he succeeds, though, the A’s will get a couple months of cheap labor.

There’s definitely going to be some rust to shake off, but don’t be surprised if you see the name “Manny Ramirez” in the cleanup spot on Bob Melvin’s lineup card at some point this year. It is a longshot, but the A’s could come out as huge winners if Manny proves he still has a little something left in his bat.

There is, of course, the chance that Manny finds it tough to play for a team that loses more than half of its games. Yeah, I’d say there’s always that possibility. But, as I’ve said, there’s not much risk here with this deal. Either it works or it doesn’t.

Prediction: Yes, Manny will suit up…eventually at some point in the year. Oh, and for those who don’t know by heart, the table below gives you Manny’s career numbers.


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