Friday, January 21, 2011

Damon and Manny to Rays

Apparently the Rays are trying to corner the market on former Red Sox. 

According to SI's Jon Heyman, the Rays have come to terms with both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez.  Damon's deal is reported to be for one year at $5.25M, plus $750K in attendance incentives.  I'm a little bit confused by the inclusion of an incentive clause.  While Damon was one of the game's most popular players for several years, I don't think anyone would consider him to be an attendance draw.  So far, I haven't seen any reports indicating the thresholds of said incentives, but I'm sure those are forthcoming.  Considering the mass exodus of star players from last year's division championship team (Crawford, Soriano, Garza, Pena, Bartlett, Balfour, etc.), I can envision a scenario where the Rays attendance might drop--especially if they come out of the gate slowly.  As far as I'm concerned, he has a slightly greater than a zero percent chance of cashing in on those incentives.  Still, as I mentioned earlier, the Damon to the Rays appears to be a wise choice by both parties.

Manny's deal will be a one year contract worth $2M guaranteed.  Yes, you read that right.  Manny's salary is dropping from $20M last season to $2M this season.  That's quite a change in fortune.  While it's not shocking that he took a drastic pay cut, it is a little surprising that the cut was so large.  Last season Manny produced 1.6 WAR between the Dodgers and White Sox in 320 plate appearances.  Johnny Damon, on the other hand, produced 1.9 WAR in nearly twice the number (613) of plate appearances.  All things considered, Manny was much more productive during his playing time than Damon. 

So why did Damon get three times as much (when factoring in the incentives) than Manny?  I can think of three possible reasons.  One, Manny was less than impressive during his 24 game stint with the White Sox when he hit only .261/.420/.319 in 88 plate appearances.  (Yes, it was a small sample size, but it's amazing how many people, including smart baseball people, ignore those kinds of facts.)  Two, while Damon can't be trusted to play the outfield regularly, he can still play in a pinch.  Manny, on the other hand, has the range of a paraplegic and the attention span of a teenager suffering from ADD.  Three, Manny had worn out his welcome in not one, but two cities, thus cementing himself as a certified clubhouse cancer. 

Regardless of Manny's lesser qualities, his signing is quite a coup.  If can repeat his season long production from last season, this contract had be considered the odds on favorite to win the "Bargain of the Offseason" award.


  1. Looks like we were both right. (see your 'Best of the Rest' post comments)

  2. Funny you should mention that Kahlil. I randomly clicked on that post earlier today, and read our comments. I'm not always right on my predictions, but it's nice to see I was on my prediction for Manny. That said, I didn't expect to see both Manny and Damon sign with them.

  3. neither did I! i almost half expect them to scoop up vlad now. what an unexpected move.
    i have been researching the rays a lot of late and have realized just how fragile their outfield is. they are good defensively, but to say they are light hitting would be entirely optimistic. damon helps a little offensively and takes some away defensively. the outfield continues to be their white elephant. we all keep waiting for bj upton to put up better numbers (he has actually regressed every year since 2007), desmond jennings probably will come on but is below the mendoza line and ben zobrist has a decent obp .384 to go with ten home runs.
    how is this a competitive outfield?
    would love to see you break the rays down. beyond a highly touted starting rotation they have serious concerns. if the sox went into a season having just lost their hr leader, the face of their franchise, their dominate closer and had their bullpen gutted, i don't think anyone would be optimistic no matter who was coming up from aaa.

  4. @Khalil - You will definitely get your wish. Josh, Corrye, and I will be doing a team by team breakdown starting sometime in late February.