words_Nick Engvall

Johnny Damon Today, the Los Angeles Dodgers placed former Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez on waivers, making him the second big-name former Beantown big hitter to find himself there this week.

Earlier this week, the Detroit Tigers placed Johnny Damon on waivers. The Boston Red Sox quickly claimed him, whether to keep the Tampa Bay Rays or New York Yankees from signing him or because they we’re legitimately interested is up for debate.

Seeing as how Damon was one of the more popular players to suit up in Boston over the last decade, leading the Red Sox to the World Series title in 2004, it seemed like a good possibility that Damon might leave the Tigers. Considering the Tigers have little-to-no shot at making the post-season this year, and the Red Sox with Damon back in Beantown could give a pretty good run at the Rays and Yankees, who are just 5.5 games ahead as of today.

Damon opted against going back to Boston, instead choosing to stay with the Tigers, a younger team where he seems to be able to be as much of an impact off the field as he is on.

As for Ramirez, it’s hard to see someone jumping on the opportunity to land someone who hasn’t had a hit in almost two months. Even more so if you consider he comes at a price of about $4.4 million. In addition, Manny has spent a good portion of this season on the injured list, not to mention the 50-game suspension he served at the start of this season.

Manny RamirezAs much as he may seem like a risk, for teams on the edge of being post-season threats – like the Chicago White Sox and ironically the Boston Red Sox who once lived on the opposite side of the Manny waivers game in 2003 – he may be worth it. I think Bostonians can agree that it was worth the risk and “fun” of “Manny being Manny” to have Ramirez there alongside Damon as the Red Sox ended “The Curse” in the 2004 season.

The thing is, like Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez can hit, and depending on who you ask, may be even better than Damon, at least for power that is.

This time of year teams need a spark to light their offensive attack, and despite Manny’s struggles this season, he is capable of putting together a surge in the batter’s box that could lift any team above what they are capable of without him. He may have only played in 63 games, but he’s hitting .306 with eight home runs and 39 RBIs.

As much as it may seem like a long shot that any team would take a chance on Ramirez, it paid off for the Red Sox in 2003, so who’s to say who the beneficiary of Manny being Manny will be in 2010. Ultimately, like it always has been, it will be up to Manny, because the no-trade clause will allow him to reject any team, whatever color Sox he chooses to reject.

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