Manny Ramirez would be one of the most popular Toronto Blue Jays of all-time should the Jays decide to take a chance on the 38-year old DH. Toronto loves its big names, in all forms and in all sports. This is exactly the move a leisurely fan would instantly approve of because “it’s Manny Ramirez”; he has to be good because his name says so. Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Rickey Henderson were all enormously popular during their brief stays in the great white north and I feel Manny would trump them all. Normally I would be totally opposed to a move like this but under the right circumstances (read, incentive laden contract) this might not be the worst move out there.
Now it would have to be a bargain basement base salary, probably something Ramirez would never accept to play for manager John Farrell and the Toronto Blue Jays. I am not sure if Ramirez would even know what “bargain basement” meant and ultimately this feels like marketing to me (something Ramirez is excellent at) and I think he is simply trying to create markets when none might have existed in hopes of garnering one last ‘decent’ contract. Of course Manny is interested in Toronto, he is unemployed, isn’t that where all of us go when we are out of work?
In 90 games in the 2010 season, split between two teams Manny slashed 298/411/460 with a respectable (though career low) .162 ISO and .382 wOBA. With his extremely poor defensive tendencies and adjusted for playing only left-field Manny posted another career low with a 1.6 WAR. A pretty rough season overall in terms of ROI for the Dodgers/White Sox but his average and on-base percentage would have led the Blue Jays and his penchant for hitting lefties hard over his career could come in handy to a team that was brutal against them last season.
Manny is still patient (14.4 BB%) and has always been a consistent producer with the bat so being a DH in the AL East against teams he has had success for and against in the past might bring out at least one more great season from the aging slugger. But again there has to be value in it for the Blue Jays and an annual salary of 20 million is not even close to fair value. If the Jays could get him to sign for a low minimum base of 3-4 million (again, a pipe dream) with the chances of Ramirez earning upwards of 10-12 million with a great season I would be amicable to the idea of bringing in a charismatic and likely fan favourite for one to two seasons.
Anything that breaks the bank doesn’t help us now or later and I doubt our respected GM Alex Anthopoulos would be moved by any sentimental or fan appeasing motives to pull the trigger on a player-friendly contract when the Jays are inching closer to becoming a borderline contender in the ruthless AL East.