Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Billy, We're Done

So Manny Ramirez has agreed to a deal with my A's. Which is to say that my team has hired Manny Ramirez.

They say it's zero risk. If he doesn't hit or becomes a distraction, they release him and eat $500K, which is nothing, even to Oakland. If he hits, they sit on him until June, then play him until they can get two shiny nickels at the trade deadline, and woo. What a smart team those Oakland fellers are.

You see, the team has a hard time drawing good offensive players in Oakland. People don't like to go to that park, or play for a team that's going to be a punching bag to Texas and Anaheim. It's all about loading up for 2015 or so. Trust the plan. Billy Beane is very, very smart. Just ask him. Or the media that's been giving him a free pass, Andy Reid-like, for most of the past decade.

Here's the problem with that plan. BILLY BEANE HAS BEEN DRAFTING GUYS FOR THIS TEAM FOR 10 FREAKING YEARS. Many times with reasonably high picks.

Cliff Pennington doesn't hit, and isn't about to start. Jeremy Brown didn't hit enough to even make the majors and not hit there. Daric Barton hit as many home runs in 2010 as you and I, in 280 fewer at bats, WHILE PLAYING FIRST BASE. None of the outfielders they've kept -- which means all of them except Andre Ethier and Carlos Gonzalez -- have hit. Kurt Suzuki hits OK for a catcher, which means they hit him third here. No, seriously.

But Manny's changed, says the mouth breathers at ESPN. He's ecstatic! Thrilled to be making $500K playing baseball! Not going to be a distraction at all!

And for once, I agree with him. Distractions involve guys on the good side of 40, with a defensive position, who still have an actual role in baseball. Not pond scum, two-time (convicted) steroid abusers, with an off the field rap sheet the size of many, many heads...

I don't care if Manny has anything left in the tank. I don't care if he can be flipped like a 1-bedroom teardown with fire damage with two months of care and a fresh coat or six of paint. I don't care if he brings in 20-30K more rubberneckers to the Mausoleum in their faded Red Sox and Dodger Mannywear. Because even if they do get something out of him, then trade him... BILLY BEANE IS GOING TO BE THE GUY NAMING THE PROSPECTS.

You know, the guy who just approved signing Manny Ramirez, when 29 other MLB franchises said no freaking way.

What I do care about is supporting an organization that would *take* the at bats they are going to squander on this sideshow and give them to a player that, I don't know, doesn't make decent people spit and make the organization that plays him look like the Bingo Longo Traveling All-Stars and Freak Show. And after ten years of Beane running the show, drafting the players, having complete control on every trade...

They don't have a single guy they'd prefer to give ABs to over Manny Freaking Ramirez. A guy who wasn't any good in his age-38 season in Chicago, which is to say, a good park to hit in. A guy who was downright awful in spring training and before he got caught taking roids in his age-39 season in Tampa, which is to say, a neutral park to hit in. He's supposed to be good at 40, in the biggest pitcher's park in the league, presumably without help from the needle?

This isn't Moneyball anymore. This isn't a smart $1/$2 player working with bad cards at the $50/$100 table. This isn't the littlest smartest team that could.

This is just a con game, and I'm tired of getting conned. And anyone still rooting for this laundry is doing the same.

Today, I'm an ex-A's fan. Assuming there is anyone left, I hope you enjoy the Manny Era.

And every other con after it...

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