Manny Ramirez is still floating out there, his thundering right-handed bat a temptation 29 teams have managed to resist. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers have an offer on the table, and Ramirez’s refusal of $45 million over two years seems stunningly arrogant considering the line
Nobody knows which.
Last week, Jeff Wilpon told Bloomberg News the Mets weren’t interested, but he wasn’t speaking for manager Jerry Manuel, who, during a TV interview, said he’d love to have Ramirez on his team.
“To have a shot at managing him would be exciting for me,” Manuel said. “I’d love to have the opportunity to watch Manny hit every day.’’
Manuel called Ramirez “one of the best right-handed hitters in our generation,’’ and broached the topic of his reputation with the confidence of a snake charmer.
Manuel is convinced he would avoid this serpent’s tooth.
“I don’t have a problem with people that produce in the form and fashion that Manny Ramirez produces,” Manuel said. “We don’t spend, shouldn’t spend that much time in the locker room, anyway.’’
Players start drifting into the clubhouse five hours before game time, far longer than the time of game. But, if not concerned about the clubhouse, how about the field?
If Ramirez’s stars aren’t all aligned he’s been known to dog it on the bases and give up at-bats. Even though they won two World Series with him, Ramirez had no allies in the Red Sox clubhouse late last summer, including David Ortiz.
Jose Reyes has enough problems maintaining his attention as it is. Do you really want him looking up to Ramirez? And, for the money Ramirez is asking, they can sign a pitcher and a bat such as Adam Dunn.
They’ve resisted temptation so far. Hope they keep that strength.
Aaron Heilman could have ripped the Mets, but took the high road when asked about his time in New York when questioned by The Seattle Times.
“Playing in New York is the only existence I’ve known and I think you get used to it,” Heilman said. “You learn to accept the fact that you are dealing with a very passionate, very knowledgeable fan base. … New York’s one of those markets where unless you win the World Series, it’s not a good year.”
Clearly, Heilman wanted to start, but the Mets valued him in the bullpen. It was always presumed he would have left when he became a free agent. However, the Mets beat him to the punch and included him in the J.J. Putz trade.
“I certainly didn’t look at it as I really wanted to get out of New York,” Heilman told the paper. “I was kind of looking forward to going back and showing that last season was an aberration and to get back to what I normally can do.”
When he’s on his game, and he wasn’t for much of last season, he’s capable of getting hitters out from either side of the plate.
Heilman had productive stretches both in 2007 and last season, but didn’t come close to his 2006 effectiveness. Especially, when it came to keeping the ball in the park.
More than a few times he denied he was scarred by giving up the Game 7 homer in the NLCS.
GM Omar Minaya said until the Mets add a starter or two, they still aren’t as good as the Philadelphia Phillies: “We’re not better than them, they’re the World Champions. You don’t win world championships on paper. Do I think we’ve improved our club? Yes. But, the bottom line is the Phillies won the World Series and they won the division twice. The experience of winning the World Series is huge.”
What is now Shea Stadium will become a parking lot, which is how these things work, but I wish there would be a way to prevent an old Volvo from leaking oil on the site where the ball got by Buckner, or where Cleon Jones caught the final out of the 1969 World Series, or where Tommie Agee made those catches, or the mound where Tom Seaver excelled for so many years.
Go ahead, make it a parking lot, but on those spots and others, block off the area and preserve it with a plaque, or small statue, or something that reminds future generations something special happened here.
I called Mets the other day and asked them their plans, and was told they don’t know what they plan, yet. I just hope they don’t get so caught up in the new place that they fail to preserve some special memories.