Like some kind of Icelandic saga across miles of frozen winter ocean, we continue our discussion of The Big Bat. Today’s flavor of right-handed power is Nick Swisher (OK, a switch hitter) and Xavier Nady. Grant does a good job on Nady today, so I’ll leave that be. (Though I’m a bit more optimistic that Swisher will rebound. We can discuss him some other time.)
The bigger picture — and when traveling by sled across endless ice, what else is there, really? — is that this winter market is quickly melting under the players’ feet. The consensus among the punditocracy is that Pat Burrell will be working for slave wages on the Tampa plantation the next two years, and Billy Beane just found himself a simply fabulous Giambi-and-pumps combination, and don’t even try to guess how much he paid, dahling!
As Abreu, Dunn and lesser lights start to panic and sign, Manny Ramirez might find himself stuck between a Ned and a hard Sabes. Ugh, I wish I hadn’t written that. As Joe Sheehan writes today in BP, “The chance for Ramirez to break the bank is gone.”
You knew this would come back to Manny, didn’t you? Sheehan lays out the reasons why the Giants should think seriously about Ramirez, and I think it’s instructive to listen, mostly because we inside the bubble tend to overvalue the familiar (ie, the Giants’ prospects). It’s good to hear outside voices, such as:
The Giants' interest is amusing, given that 16 months ago they parted ways with an all-bat, no-glove left fielder who was a better overall player than Ramirez on the grounds that they were trying to rebuild. I guess the Fred Lewis Era is over? It's not, snark aside, that bad of an idea. The Giants have a very good rotation, the makings of an effective bullpen, and they play against weak competition. The addition of one big bat, most likely to play left with Lewis moving to right and the team being saved from Nate Schierholtz, could turn them into co-favorites in the NL West. That's a combination of credit for the Randy Johnson signing, a lack of faith in Schierholtz, and an indictment of the division.
Saved from Nate Schierholtz? At some point Nate must have run over Sheehan’s dog or, even worse, knocked over his beer with a foul ball.
But the larger point is ringing truer every day: At what point do the Giants say, sheesh, we only have to pay how much for one of the top 5 hitters in major league baseball? What if price is no longer an issue, substandard defense is overlookable, and the only thing standing between Manny and the Chevron cars is the stubborn need to prove that Nate Schierholtz will someday be an adequate major-leaguer?
Is Schierholtz (or Fred Lewis) really worth keeping around, just to keep up the good name of the youth movement? It’s not like more youth won’t be along soon enough. Last I checked, there’s youth all over the place, writing messages on cell phones, wearing saggy jeans, riding pieces of wood festooned with rubber wheels. I think they’re called skateplanks.
Dammit, recession, you’re wearing down my anti-Manny resolve and exposing my callow lack of righteous principle! Stop it!