We are by now aware that Manny is a shrill of his former self. The days of him hitting .320 with 40 HR and 120 RBI are over. And he was 1 for 17 in five games with the Tampa Bay Rays before choosing to retire rather than take a 100 game suspension. And everybody knows that he can be a bad example to other players in the clubhouse, as he will do whatever he wants. A little easier to take if he is putting up the numbers I mentioned at the top of the paragraph. How many teams would be interested in keeping Manny Ramirez on their 40 man roster for the first 50 games of the 2012 season?
The good thing is the team that signs him will get to watch him play through a full spring training. For the first time in his career, Manny will have something to prove. He signed with the Rays for $2 million guaranteed for 2011, so its safe to say he may have to settle for a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. The team that signs him does not have to tie up a roster spot unless they are sure Manny is 1. Having a good spring. 2. Not causing a problem in the clubhouse. 3. Worth it to put on the 40 man roster for the duration of his suspension. An opt out clause could be put in to allow him to become a free agent if he is not added to the 40 man roster by the end of spring training.
Some have said that the Mets may be a fit for Manny. I think any team could come up with a scenario where Manny Ramirez could be a fit. If I was the Mets, I'd consider it, but thats about it. If he is willing to take a minor league contract, then there is nothing to lose. It may be worth it because of the chance that he has something left. If he has a comeback year, fans will come and see that. It would be interesting watching him in spring training trying to prove something for the first time in his career. And the worst that could happen is that he is released and becomes a free agent again. There are 40 man roster spots that open up every spring training for players on minor league contract that make the team, so its not like he'd be taking a spot away from a player that deserves it. And all of this is assuming he has proved that he has something left in the tank. He won't be kept if he doesn't.
The Mets got production from Gary Sheffield in 2009 in a similar situation in a similar role until the Mets fell way out of contention in the beginning of August. Manny can play against left hand pitchers and, if necessary, play left field if Jason Bay struggles again this season. And that gives Jason Bay 50 games to show improvement over the last couple of seasons. If not, that would be a good time to start reducing his role so his 2014 option becomes less of a possibility.
The 2012 Mets are not expected to be competitive. Payroll constraints and the fact that the team is rebuilding will keep star players from being attainable. But what if a star had something left? And if he was willing to sign a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training? To me, the benefits outweigh the baggage.