Ok, let's get this straight. Even Manny Ramirez gets a fourth chance.
In a sign that $2million a year for a formerly $20million a year player in free agency is a bargain, the Rays decided that giving Manny (who according to my wife didn't pay his child support when she went to a Cleveland Indians game way back when and heckled him for such) that money was nothing but upside.
If he screws up, it couldn't be worse than giving an outfielder with $2million value the money for 1 year (no incentives either!). If he's productive and healthy (because not being injured and cantankerous is pretty much everything), well then it's everything that Mannywood was supposed to be in Los Angeles except it's in the Tropicana and it's all comeback against the Red Sox who let him slip away.
It's hard to say everything about Manny that truly needs said. Something about using steroids and trying to blame it on sexual performance enhancers didn't have us believing. Hell, he's not on my short list of people who I would bat an eyelash over:
1. Cal Ripken Jr.
2. Derek Jeter
3. Ichiro Suzuki
4. Albert Pujols
5. Mariano Rivera
6. Curt Schilling
This is especially true when both he and Big Sluggi - the hitter formerly known as David "Big Papi" Ortiz, who is now just hanging around Boston for no good reason and past memories (but we do remember the good things and I've got your jersey to prove it) were nailed for the PEDs. I can literally remember being with my friend Dale sitting in the restaurant of an off track wagering place watching the news come up on a television screen. Oh... big sluggers nailed for steroids... hmm...
Hell, most things that Manny did had us wanting to ship him out as soon as possible. The Bill Simmons column on him explains everything in such vivid detail, you should just read that.
Two years in LA. Lots of money coming his way. The future is wide open, only it's not.
From 19 home runs in LA in 2009 to 9 home runs in LA and Chi-Town in all of 2010 in just over 270 at bats (those pesky injuries)... it's a curse... something like that. The year of the pitcher... or not. Not that 350 at bats the year before was much better. That's over $40million well spent.
So perhaps that's why Johnny Damon is getting more and the offer of incentives... potential upside (whereas Manny is all hope).
Manny turning it all around... it's a nice story. We want to write it. Really.
Scott Boras and Manny really want us to write it.
Time will tell.