August 25, 2010
Manny In The Other Sox
The trade deadline has passed in most leagues and the waiver wire is not looking pretty as contending teams scoop up the last useful pieces in order to make their push. AL-only leagues may be in luck though, as there is one major piece that could be coming over from the National League with just over a month left to play. That player is Manny Ramirez, who, in what is considered a disappointing season, has hit .306/.396/.497 over 227 plate appearances while dealing with injuries.
It's no secret who the teams interested in Ramirez are—the question that remains is whether or not the Dodgers will put him on waivers and let him go when the White Sox, Rangers or Rays put in a claim for him (hat tip, Ken Rosenthal). Since the White Sox have the worst record of those teams, they will be the ones with the chance to acquire him. What kind of impact can Ramirez make with 30+ games on the schedule?
The negative about Ramirez switching leagues is an obvious one, as he would be leaving the National League to head to the superior American League. There is however one major difference that could mean a great month for Ramirez and the team that manages to land him on waivers: park factors. Whereas the Dodgers play in a park that suppresses homers from right-handed hitters, the White Sox home encourages the long ball. The Cell makes Arlington and Coors look like neutral parks in terms of homers from right-handed batters, and Ramirez, a right-handed hitter who even in his decline is dangerous, would benefit by playing there for a month.
Given the sample size, there's a non-zero chance his production would be similar. But there is also potential we'll see flashes of old-school Manny rather than an aging Manny, and all thanks to his new digs. In terms of singles, doubles and triples, The Cell plays a lot like Chavez Ravine, but when it comes to homers there's enough of a difference that Manny could double his homer total for the season in a month—he's currently at eight, which makes that claim a tad less ridiculous than most Manny seasons.
That's not the same as saying he will do that of course, but this late in the game, upside like that is hard to come by, and he would be worth every dollar of your FAAB money that you can put on him if you're looking for some more pop. He's still a patient hitter, he still does not strike out a ton, and though is power has lessened, the Cell has the cure for that in its outfield walls. Keep an eye on whether or not the White Sox put in a claim, and then get ready to pounce on your league's waiver wire.