In one of the stranger, more off-the-wall transactions I can remember in 17 years following the Rangers, today GM Jon Daniels announced the club has signed 41 year-old outfielder, Manny Ramirez, to a prorated contract that will pay him $500K in 2013 if he makes it to the Major League roster.
Ramirez last played in the Majors in 2010, batting .298/.409/.460 (140 wRC+) in 320 plate appearances. As recently as last season he was in the A’s Minor League system, going .302/.348/.349 in 69 PA’s.
Basically, if we’re able to extract anything from this deal, it’s that the financial commitment is so substantially low that there is literally no risk involved. I mean unless he’s recalled to the Majors and finds enough time to sabotage the entire Rangers’ locker room, thus destroying the team from the inside out until they blow through the atmosphere in a glorious supernova.
In reality, even if he is called up, you are more than likely going to be seeing a platoon bat who will DH on occasion. This is a Hall-of-Fame talent, sure, but he isn’t going to be expected to be a middle-of-the-order bat by any stretch of the imagination. If he indeed makes the team, we would more or less be hoping for Lance Berkman 2.0 with a little more power upside, probably something in the .260/.350/.400 range.
What’s perhaps more interesting is what the signing could signify. Berkman is in the lineup tonight for the first time in about a week, but is the Rangers’ front office not confident in his knee holding up? Could Nelson Cruz be getting suspended sooner than we all thought?
I have a hard time thinking the Rangers would sign Manny Ramirez to be the insurance option for Cruz. That wouldn’t seem to make sense, given the fact that Manny wasn’t a particularly strong defenseman even when he was one of the best hitters in baseball.
What we do know is the Rangers aren’t losing anything. They’ll pay a fixed, prorated allotment of cash to a someone they aren’t expecting anything significant from, and if he doesn’t produce, they can just release him. Sounds like the ultimate of win-win situations if you ask me.