Sunday, July 27, 2008

And the Manny hate train keeps on chugging

This time, Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald is the culprit. Channeling the spirit of Shaughnessy, Massarotti is the latest writer to run a first ballot Hall of Fame hitter out of Boston.

Until now, Manny Ramirez had the talent to offset the attitude. But the simple truth today is that he is overplaying his hand.

I was under the impression that the term "overplaying his hand" meant giving away too much information. But here, it's used instead of the phrase "living off his reputation" or something like that. It's also not really true.

Entering this weekend’s series with the New York Yankees, despite having played as many games as any Sox player but Dustin Pedroia, Ramirez did not lead the team in runs scored, walks or, most importantly, RBI.

RBIs are dumb. That would be like if I measured your writing performance by ABI (articles batted in). You get an ABI if your article is published after one by Steve Buckley or Jeff Horrigan. Your pay is based on the amount of ABIs you get and when you do bad, Manny Ramirez will write an article about trading you.

Sound good?

Manny is also second on the team in walks (50 to 59, behind the now loved JD Drew), third in runs and second in RBI. What a piece of trash. I think Massorotti read this recently.

He did not rank in the top 20 in the major leagues in homers (19, 23rd), RBI (62, 24th) or slugging percentage (.530, 27th), all of which supports an interesting paradox.

Wow. He doesn't rank (by a super slim margin) in a random number you picked? And since you love team ranks, he's tied for first on the team in homers and third on the team in slugging - which I am surprised you know about, it being a nerd stat and all.

As a player, Ramirez is aging.

A wild fact approaches!

It means Ramirez’ skills are deteriorating and his attitude is as rotten as ever, and it means the Red Sox don’t need to find a Hall of Fame-caliber player to replace him anymore because Ramirez no longer is a Hall of Fame-caliber player.

This argument is idiotic. Did the Giants look for a HOF-caliber player to replace Bonds? Did Greg Maddux command a HOF-type player in return for his services? 99 percent of the time, when HOF bound players are past their prime, it would be completely foolish to expect a "Hall of Fame-caliber" player in return.

Hey Cardinals, how about Manny for Pujols straight up? They're both Hall of Fame bound. Huh? Huh?

Truth be told, none of that is news. What is news is this: MARz [this is the HILARIOUS acronym Massorotti gave to Manny. Get it? It's almost Mars! The red planet?! Aliens are from there!!] isn’t one of the truly elite hitters in the game anymore.

This is probably true. But no one with a brain thinks he's "truly elite" anymore. But he makes a sick L/R combo with Ortiz and I'd rather "overpay" him than Carlos Delgado or Gary Sheffield.

Take away the first 19 games of this season

No. Those games happened during the season.

(after that feel-good, deeply philosophical spring) and MARz entered yesterday batting .290 with 13 home runs and 42 RBI in his past 76 games, the equivalent of about a half-season.

~.300/26-30/85-100 sucks!

During that same period of time, he had been outproduced by such luminaries as Adam LaRoche, Hunter Pence, James Loney, Cody Ross, David DeJesus, Bengie Molina, Jorge Cantu and even David Murphy.

Now I don't know what measures Massorotti used to define "outperforming" (I am going to assume "running out ground outs" and "sac bunts" were high on the list) but I am going to use OPS, OPS+ and WARP3.

I am going to include those 19 games - mainly because I am not a dick and those games still count in the stat books.

Manny: .922/140/7.5
Pence: .735/92/4.3
LaRoche: .814/114/5.1
Loney: .823/112/5.3
Ross: .810/112/5.6
DeJesus: .819/116/5.9
Molina: .734/92/5.3
Cantu: .832/120/6.8
Murphy: .780/107/5.2

So yeah, he has like 100 points of OPS (which I think even Massarotti can understand is good), is actually fairly an above average MLB player (which is a 100 OPS+) - unlike nearly every one of these players - and is almost two wins more valuable than all but Cantu.

Proof is fun!

The obvious issue now is that Ramirez no longer is a historic run producer, though clearly, nobody has told him. He continues to act as if he invented the RBI.

I like to picture Manny sitting in his mansion on an old leather chair, wearing a smoking jacket, partaking in a particularly fine brandy and looking over his BABIP and LD%, laughing as people still hold RBI on a pedestal.

Again: RBIs are stupid, they are nearly 100 percent teammate/position in the line up reliant. Stop it. Please.

The decision doesn’t look like much of a decision at all.

And here’s the astonishing thing:

It might have as much to do with baseball as anything else.

I have no problem with the Red Sox cutting ties with Manny. If they can get an Adam Dunn or a Jason Bay or a Matt Holliday, I would be thrilled (although, at least in the case of Holliday, they will cost just as much).

But this will not be a baseball decision. This will be the front office caving to a suffocating amount of media pressure and witch hunting.

"He may have pushed an old man! Get him!"

"He fumbled around in the outfield once! Burn him alive!"

"He doesn't run out ground outs every once and a while! Heretic!"

The dude is one of 15 outfielders in MLB with a .900 OPS. With Ortiz back, his numbers will go up.

Step the fuck off.

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