Thursday night, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports quoted sources as telling him that the Oakland A's and Orioles had expressed the most interest in free agent Manny Ramirez. He said it was unclear, though, if either team had made a contract offer. This news was not met with elation from most Orioles' fans.
Ramirez has been linked to the Orioles pretty much ever since Dan Duquette took over as executive vice president. Duquette is the man that signed Ramirez to a whopping eight-year deal worth $160 million in December of 2000.
There have been several occasions now, starting at the Winter Meetings and the among the most recent was at FanFest, where Duquette has been asked by reporters if the Orioles have interest in Ramirez. He has chosen to never provide a definite answer to that, often saying something like, "Manny is an interesting guy."
I keep waiting for him to add something to that like, "but he's not a fit for us right now." But he never has. Just because he didn't do that I don't think we can take that to mean he does have interest in signing him, but he just hasn't publicly closed the door on the matter.
Ramirez, who will turn 40 in May, hit .298 with nine homers, 42 RBIs and an .870 OPS in 265 at-bats in 2010. The year before that his OPS was .949. Despite the fact most fans seem to think he is finished, I bet there may still be something left in that bat.
Having said that, I don't want him hitting for the Orioles.
Even if he shocks everyone and has a monster year in 2012 for someone, I don't want to see that at Camden Yards. Ramirez has done way too much wrong in his career and, if Cal Ripken Jr. is a role model for kids, this guy is the opposite of that.
It starts with his current 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy, which was reduced from 100 games. I can't get out of my mind the incident a few years ago where he allegedly pushed a much, much older Red Sox front office employee over a ticket dispute. He was arrested last September and charged with domestic battery.
That is way too many "issues" for me. I am not making this decision but it's pretty clear where my vote would stand if I had one.
Plus, I watched the guy dog it many nights on the bases and in left field at Camden Yards only to see him hit a key homer later in the game to the adoring Red Sox Nation and for a club management which chose to overlook the former because he could deliver the latter. He was just Manny being Manny.
Let him be that somewhere that is not Baltimore in 2012.
The Duke speaks: Duquette told reporters in December that he believes the 2012 Orioles can post a winning record. He told a group of fans in Baltimore the same recently.
Hamilton's struggle: Richard Justice of MLB.com writes about Josh Hamilton and his battle with addiction. Hamilton went in front of the cameras on Friday. Now the Rangers have some big decisions to make.