Blog Entry

What do Rays go sans Manny Ramirez?

Posted on: April 8, 2011 6:11 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2011 6:14 pm


By Evan Brunell

So how are the Rays going to move on from their short Manny Ramirez era?

Well, at least in the outset, Tampa Bay is calling up first baseman Casey Kotchman to be the starting first baseman while Dan Johnson will shift to DH. Kotchman was a former starting first baseman for the Angels and Braves before his career went into a tailspin with the Red Sox and Mariners.

He signed a minor-league contract with the Rays to open 2011 and reported to Triple-A despite putting up strong spring training numbers. The 28-year-old's best days are probably behind him, although Tampa will obviously cross their fingers and hope for the best. He is a solid fielder, so can help the Rays in that department.

However, Dan Johnson moving to DH is hardly inspired, even if it's the right move. Johnson has a few big hits with the Rays over the last few years, but struggles to crack the Mendoza Line and the jury is still out on whether he can be a viable starter. The Rays have really stretched themselves thin with Ramirez's retirement and certainly have to be thinking about out-of-organization alternatives. The team will likely give its in-house alternatives every chance to succeed, however, given the team's finances. But if Tampa stays solely in-house if its options aren't performing to par, it will be a mistake. While Tampa was thought to have been far behind the curve to make the postseason, Boston's 0-6 start to the season has really opened the door.

In the meantime, Kotchman and Johnson are the guys, but don't be surprised to see backup catcher Kelly Shoppach worked in at first base more regularly. Matt Joyce also stands to benefit from the retirement, and playing time should be much easier to come by for Sean Rodriguez once Evan Longoria returns from the disabled list.

The team also has a top outfield prospect in Desmond Jennings that they farmed out to Triple-A for additional seasoning. This move may cause the Rays to dip down and promote Jennings sooner rather than later.

Whether with or without Jennings, Ramirez's retirement could cause the Rays to move Johnny Damon out of left field, where he no longer belongs. Damon DHing would free the outfield up for either Joyce or Jennings.

Yes, the Rays are scrambling a bit to replace Ramirez. However, Ramirez looked as slow and old with Tampa as he did during his stint with the White Sox to finish out 2010. It really won't be that difficult to replace that Manny Ramirez, even if we all look at him as the home-run slugging behemoth that was feared for almost two decades.

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Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: April 10, 2011 12:34 pm

What do Rays go sans Manny Ramirez?

I think it is time to pull the string on a trade for a first baseman that can add some pop to the lineup, and be a corner piece for the future.  The Reds have a power hitting first baseman at AAA just blocked by Joey Votto.  He has good plate discipline, something Dan johnson is lacking.  I think the Rays should inquire about Yonder Alonso for a couple of strong pitching prospects - the Reds need left handed pitching.

Another place to look is KC, where Eric Hosmer is tearing up the minor leagues and is blocked by Billy Butler and their current 1B. - K'

Calling up Jennings and getting Damon off the field is a good step as well.  Let Damon DH, or at least compete for the position with Matt Joyce.Jennings would be SO much better in the field and work as a lead off hitter as well.

The Rays need to perform last rites and cleanse the club house opf the negative Karma hiring Manny Ramirez put on the team!

Since: Mar 21, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2011 10:46 pm

What do Rays go sans Manny Ramirez?

He was batting under a hundred. .059 in 5 games  That shouldnt be hard to replace.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2011 7:17 pm

What do Rays go sans Manny Ramirez?

I thought that Tampa had signed another big bat besides Ramirez. His name is Johnny Damon. Oh wait. He was never a power hitter in his prime and he is well past his prime. He can't hit, field nor throw well. Why DID the Rays sign Damon...for veteran leadership? Good luck with that! A least they have top flight pitching. I still see the Rays over taking Boston and New York for the division. But Toronto is looking mighty good early on.

Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: April 8, 2011 6:52 pm

What do Rays go sans Manny Ramirez?

The Rays are in deep trouble.Manny or no Manny..Their hitting is horrible.

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