COMMENTARY | Since Manny Ramirez decided to leave the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan last week, there has been a buzz to bring the Dominican slugger who grew up in New York back home.
Ramirez is not the player who averaged 41 homers and 130 RBIs a season between 1998-2005 with the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox while posting a .318/.416/.623 batting line. Are we forgetting his 17-game homerless stint in Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats in 2012? Did the 1-for-17 start to the 2011 season with the Tampa Bay Rays fade so quickly from memory?
"...(T)he man is a hitting savant with 555 career homers, and the Yankees need runs," McCarron wrote. "Just imagine Manny and Alex Rodriguez on the same team when A-Rod comes back! Who would out-gossip-page the other? Are there enough tabloid headlines? Probably not."
McCarron's piece was mostly tongue-in-cheek, aimed more at making the point that the Yankees need to do something for their flagging offense, which produced early in the season, but has regressed to the mean as the calendar has rolled over to June.
The Yankees have a team OPS+ (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, normalized for ballpark factors) of 86, which is the second-lowest mark in the American League. Only the Chicago White Sox' OPS+ of 79 is worse. New York is 27th of the 30 teams in Major League Baseball.
Not exactly the Bronx Bombers of old.
Yet the Yankees are in the middle of the pack, averaging 3.95 runs per game, 11th in the AL and 19th in MLB.
The American League East is as brutal as it ever has been. The Red Sox boast the best record in the American League at 45-32. The Baltimore Orioles are contending again at 42-33. With the Toronto Blue Jays on a 10-game winning tear, every team in the division is above the .500 mark.
And yet with all of the injuries and the on-going Alex Rodriguez Biogenesis drama (OK, to a lesser degree Francisco Cervelli, but the national media don't seem to mention his name as much in connection with the South Florida clinic), the Yankees are just 2.5 games out of first place.
Hiroki Kuroda has pitched well and the bullpen has been very good, with 43-year-old Mariano Rivera back from missing most of 2012 with a knee injury and tied for the league lead with 26 saves.
And rookie Zoilo Almonte has provided a spark since his recall from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, going 5-for-8 with a homer and four RBIs in his first four big league games, showing that his .297/.369/.421 line with six homers and 36 RBIs in Triple-A might not have been a mirage.
With Mark Teixeira out again after aggravating his injured wrist, Kevin Youkilis looking like a $12 million bust with back problems and the total number of at-bats between Derek Jeter and Rodriguez still stuck at zero, yes, the Yankees need some help.
But not Manny Ramirez. Let Manny be Manny somewhere else ... anywhere else ... but the Bronx.
Phil Watson is a freelance journalist and commentator who covers the New York Yankees for the Yahoo Contributor Network and is also assistant editor at the HoopsHabit.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manny Ramirez
- New York Yankees
- Alex Rodriguez
- New York
- Boston Red Sox
- New York Daily News