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I hate the White Sox but some of the hand-wringing over the acquisition of Manny Ramirez is driving me crazy. Bottom line: The team is better with him than without him.
So what's the problem?
Yes, the move doesn't address what seems to be the team's biggest problem: The bullpen. It doesn't help that the Twins have done just that for the third time this season, adding former Angels closer Brian Fuentes to new addition Randy Flores to former Nationals closer Matt Capps, whom the team acquired in July.
But most of what I'm hearing and reading about Manny is just plain ignorant.
For example, the Tribune's Paul Sullivan said on Chicago Tribune Live last week that Manny "hasn't done anything" since his steroids scandal.
"With Ramirez in the starting lineup, the Dodgers are 10 games over .500. In 73 games without him, they are seven under," STATS reported before the Sox acquisition. "With Ramirez starting, the Dodgers hit .282, and score an average of 5.3 runs per game. Without him, they're at .241 and 3.6 runs a game."
STATS also notes that "Ramirez - who's currently hitting his career average, .313 - would knock in 101 runs over a full season."
Manny has hitting his career average.
Now it's true that he's been on the DL three times this year. Inability to push through - and recover quickly - from injuries may be the biggest impact of not being on the juice anymore.
But when he's healthy he can still rake.
Manny's OBP is .405 and his OPS is .915.
Compare that to current White Sox DHs, who are hitting a collective .241 with a .310 OBP and a .707 OPS.
The Sox have made a significant upgrade. They may not have made the move or moves to prevent more runs, but they will score more runs.
(His Wins Above Replacement number is 1; in a close race this could be the difference. That one, single home run, perhaps, that gives the Sox at least a share of the division title.)
"In 456 at-bats since his suspension was lifted July 3, 2009, Ramirez has hit .287 with 21 home runs and 83 RBIs with 30 doubles," the Trib's David Haugh sniffs.
I'll take it!
"This year, a body that has begun to break down since his positive test has limited Ramirez to a solid .311 average with a disappointing eight home runs and 40 RBIs in 196 at-bats," Haugh writes. "Yes, you can prorate those numbers and speculate Ramirez would have the second-best power statistics on the Sox to Paul Konerko. But at this stage of Ramirez's career, doing that is a little like a college kid projecting future earnings after a good night at the blackjack table."
Is 40 RBIs in 196 at-bats really disappointing? Only if you're not allowed to prorate those numbers!
"Heading into Monday night's game against the Indians, no team in the majors had scored more runs than the Sox in August (141). Mark Teahen, whose at-bats will be limited now, was hitting .316 with a home run and seven RBIs since returning Aug. 13. Ozzie's Way was working."
Unless you prorate the numbers!
But apparently Mark Teahen maintaining his "hot" streak is less of a gamble than Manny Ramirez in a contract drive!
This is why it's hard to take our local sportswriters seriously.
Instead, check out this post at FanGraphs, which is as succinct and smart as I've found.
And you know what else? It's practically risk-free!
According to CoolStandings, the Sox have a 12 percent chance of winning the division. There's nothing wrong with throwing a Hail Manny.
After all, the move didn't cost the Sox a single prospect. And the money? As the Trib's Teddy Greenstein said on CTL, it's Jerry Reinsdorf's money, so who cares!
But the million dollars the team will lay out for the remainder of the year could be largely made back by increased attendance and merchandise. The remainder? We'll see. Maybe Kenny Williams brings Manny back next year.
In the meantime, Mannywood comes to the South Side. Tell me you won't be watching.
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