Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

July 5, 2013

Phillips: Is Manny worth it?

Mike Phillips
Corsicana Daily Sun

— Manny a good deal or bad deal?

Can’t hurt, can it?

I’m no Manny Ramirez fan, and at 41 it’s a longshot that he has anything left in a tank that he took for granted when he was a star. He’s selfish. He’s a quitter, and he’s a documented cheater — 3-for-3. His wife told police back in 2011 that he slapped her, and then dropped the charges.

He can’t catch a cold and he was such a jerk in Boston the Red Sox dumped him even when he could still hit.

Manny is also the answer to one of those “best trade we never made questions.’’ Back in the day when Manny was a terror at the plate, the Marlins had a three-team deal in place to bring Manny to Florida in 2008, but the deal fell through when the Pirates (of all people) wanted to up the ante at the 12th hour. They wanted a kid in the Marlins minor league system named Mike Stanton, who was playing for the Greensboro Grasshoppers at the time.

The Marlins said, “no way.’’

Stanton had turned down Pete Carroll, who wanted him to play tight end at USC, and the Marlins took him in the second round of the draft. They loved the kid even when he was a Grasshopper, and of course he grew up to become Giancarlo Stanton, the lone star of that sad and ravaged franchise.

If you like irony (and if you’re a baseball fan you know irony shows up every night on the diamond) think about this full-circle story if the Rangers end up with both Manny and Giancarlo. It could happen.

A trade for Stanton puts the Rangers in the World Series.

I have no idea where Manny puts them, but I like the move. We love resurrection stories in sports.

Why not Manny?

He says he wants to play more than anything. He must. The guy played for the Taiwan EDA Rhinos. Yup, those Rhinos.

He says he’s going to donate his salary (it’s a pro-rated $500,000 deal) to charity and he says Round Rock looks like the big leagues after playing in Taiwan. Yup, that Round Rock.

It would also be full circle — sort of — in the “Manny is just being Manny” saga. You know how Manny got that tag?

He was playing for Cleveland in 1995 and he left his shoes in the clubhouse. Turns out, his paycheck was in the shoes.

When he was asked about his colorful outfielder, Shoeless Ramirez forgetting his shoes and his paycheck, Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said, “That’s just Manny being Manny.’’

It might not have stuck but when ESPN got a hold of it, of course those brainless idiots ran it in the ground, and then ran it in the ground, and then ran it in the ground. Yup, those idiots.

But it was Hargrove, a former Ranger, who dubbed the “Manny just being Manny” phrase that has followed Ramirez from the Green Monster, where he once ducked into the scoreboard to make a cell phone call during a pitching change, to LA, where he was greeted with signs of “Mannywood” when he arrived in 2008, to Tampa Bay, where he signed a $2 million deal and then played a total of five games (he went to 1 for 17) in April of 2011 and then bolted. He never told the Rays he was retiring. They found out later from MLB.

Of course, Manny wasn’t running from the Rays as much as he was running from a 100-game suspension for his second PED violation.

He didn’t just cheat and get caught.

He did it twice.

But now he’s older and thinner, and he even showed up at Round Rock with a haircut, sans the trademark long dreads. He cut the dreads when he played 24 games for the White Sox in 2010, and the Rangers wouldn’t let him play in Triple A with them.

He says he’s the new Manny.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe him or not. It doesn’t matter what he did in Tampa Bay or Taiwan or on the plane ride between here and there.

If he can hit and eventually help the Rangers, it’s a great move. If he can’t, no one has lost anything.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels knows this better than anyone. He’s not worried about a pro-rated $500,000. He’s worried about winning the World Series — priceless.

That’s where this franchise is today. It’s all about doing whatever it takes and gambling here and there. It’s about making one more move, the move that puts you over the top.

Trust me, if Manny Ramirez gets a pinch-hit double to drive in the winning run in Game 6 of the World Series (it could happen), this would to be the best $500,000 the Rangers will spend all year.

I still want the Rangers to pull off a deal for Stanton, who would kiss the ground Nolan Ryan pitched on when he gets here from Miami, where baseball has officially died.

And the irony of having both Ramirez and the former Grasshopper on the same team would just be too funny (funny singular, not funny ha-ha).

The Rangers made a simple move, one that can’t hurt and might really pay off in October.

That’s what this is all about. It’s got nothing to do with Manny just being Manny.

This is about the Rangers being the Rangers.