Weatherford Democrat

July 7, 2013

Webb of Thought: Will ‘Manny being Manny’ be good for Rangers?


Weatherford Democrat

Manny Ramirez is certainly putting on a good face after agreeing to terms with the Texas Rangers on a minor-league contract on Wednesday. Donating his minimum-wage salary to charity and expressing wordless happiness are on the forefront of his arrival to Triple-A Round Rock.

Out of Major League Baseball since 2011, Manny has been plying his trade - and fairly effectively - albeit with the Chinese Professional League, putting up decent numbers. Not having even the opportunity to DVR Taiwan Rhinos’ games, I’m not sure what that really means in terms of translation to MLB.

At 41 years old, Ramirez will be paid to DH, i.e., hit the ball. More specifically, hit the ball, BIG. Of course, he still has his stint to do in Round Rock, but expectations certainly put him in a Rangers uniform sooner, rather than later. And the Rangers could certainly use his help.

Lance Berkman looked like the find of the decade when Texas talked him out of retirement to join them this season. Early gold has turned to quartz, as Berkman produced big in April, but has (mostly) fizzled of late, and has those yucky knees with which to contend. 

Manny, who apparently has remained healthy through China ball and the Dominican Winter League before that, was (and hopefully still is), a wonderful hitter. He has always been able to put the bat on the ball, even while he was struggling to do the same with his glove. But that is out of the mix, so offensively, the Rangers could potentially benefit from a proven slugger.

And though I would be beside myself to see the Rangers return to the upper crust of run producers, seriously upping opposing teams’ ERA in the span of a single series, of utmost concern is the Rangers locker room. Though one gets the feeling all is not as rosy as it was during the two World Series years, the outward appearance is still good for the Rangers, especially now that Josh has gone to a “baseball town.”

All that are saying anything, are saying Manny has turned an humble corner, and indications are that he is blessed, happy, ready to play ... a “new man.” If the new man brings his old bat and responds well to “Wash,” bring on the RBIs. And may “Manny being Manny” take on a whole new meaning.