FanPost

Is It Really Worth It: Three Veterans Who May Be Playing Oakland Next Year, But Shouldn't Be

.261/16/73

.290/13/63

.059/0/0

Those were the stat lines (AVG/HR/RBI) of three well-known veterans in 2011. The 1st is johnny Damon. The 2nd is Vladimir Guerrero. The third... is Manny Ramirez.

Of course, Ramirez only had 17 plate appearances in for Tampa Bay before he was suspended (again) for drug use. He ended up retiring halfway through the season before announcing his return to baseball this offseason, and perhaps ushering baseball's version of Brett Favre. He will miss the first 50 games of the season in 2012, and unless he plays just about every single game, he'll finish with 100 games played. Coupled with his lousy attitude and the fact that he's a 39 year-old with a bad track record, is he really worth signing to a million-dollar contract just so that we can see Manny being Manny (which isn't even a good thing).

But here's the thing: are any of three aforementioned vets - Vlad, Damon and Ramirez - actually worth signing? Well, I say no but let's compare them.

1: Johnny Damon


For those of you who didn't know (which may be no one, but whatever), Johnny Damon played exactly one season for the A's, in 2001. He hit .256 with 9 homeruns, 49 RBI and 27 steals (12 CS) in 644 AB's. He was a good hitter who played excellent defense and was a catalyst atop the Oakland A's lineup (and he was better then his successor, Terrence Long). After 2001, he left to pursue a multi-year contract with the Red Sox and ended winning a World Series. Statistically, he made a name for himself as a premier player, and twice hit over .300. In 2006, he went to the Bronx where he once again won a WS while continuing to hit and play good defense. then, he signed a 1-year contract with Detroit. The thing is, the Tigers had a young kid called Austin Jackson who ended up hitting over .300 as a rookie. Damon played 33 games in left, but he ended up spending most of his time as a DH. In 2011, johnny hit 16 homeruns and stole 19 bags in 582 at-bats for the Tampa Bay Rays. This was almost solely as a DH; he played 33 games in the field. Here's his career stat line:

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1995 21 KCR AL 47 206 188 32 53 11 5 3 23 7 0 12 22 .282 .324 .441 .765 97 83 2 1 2 3 0
1996 22 KCR AL 145 566 517 61 140 22 5 6 50 25 5 31 64 .271 .313 .368 .680 73 190 4 3 10 5 3 *
1997 23 KCR AL 146 524 472 70 130 12 8 8 48 16 10 42 70 .275 .338 .386 .723 88 182 3 3 6 1 2 *
1998 24 KCR AL 161 710 642 104 178 30 10 18 66 26 12 58 84 .277 .339 .439 .779 101 282 4 4 3 3 4 *
1999 25 KCR AL 145 660 583 101 179 39 9 14 77 36 6 67 50 .307 .379 .477 .856 116 278 13 3 3 4 5 *
2000 26 KCR AL 159 741 655 136 214 42 10 16 88 46 9 65 60 .327 .382 .495 .877 118 324 7 1 8 12 4 * MVP-19
2001 27 OAK AL 155 719 644 108 165 34 4 9 49 27 12 61 70 .256 .324 .363 .687 82 234 7 5 5 4 1 *
2002 28 BOS AL 154 702 623 118 178 34 11 14 63 31 6 65 70 .286 .356 .443 .799 109 276 4 6 3 5 5 * AS
2003 29 BOS AL 145 690 608 103 166 32 6 12 67 30 6 68 74 .273 .345 .405 .750 94 246 5 2 6 6 4 *
2004 30 BOS AL 150 702 621 123 189 35 6 20 94 19 8 76 71 .304 .380 .477 .857 117 296 8 2 0 3 1 * MVP-16
2005 31 BOS AL 148 688 624 117 197 35 6 10 75 18 1 53 69 .316 .366 .439 .805 111 274 5 2 0 9 3 * AS,MVP-13
2006 32 NYY AL 149 671 593 115 169 35 5 24 80 25 10 67 85 .285 .359 .482 .841 115 286 4 4 2 5 1 */3 MVP-15
2007 33 NYY AL 141 605 533 93 144 27 2 12 63 27 3 66 79 .270 .351 .396 .747 96 211 4 2 1 3 1 /3
2008 34 NYY AL 143 623 555 95 168 27 5 17 71 29 8 64 82 .303 .375 .461 .836 119 256 5 1 2 1 0 */3
2009 35 NYY AL 143 626 550 107 155 36 3 24 82 12 0 71 98 .282 .365 .489 .854 119 269 9 2 2 1 1 *
2010 36 DET AL 145 613 539 81 146 36 5 8 51 11 1 69 90 .271 .355 .401 .756 105 216 5 2 2 1 2
2011 37 TBR AL 150 647 582 79 152 29 7 16 73 19 6 51 92 .261 .326 .418 .743 110 243 4 7 2 5 1 *D7/3
17 Seasons 2426 10693 9529 1643 2723 516 107 231 1120 404 103 986 1230 .286 .353 .435 .789 105 4146 93 50 57 71 38
162 Game Avg. 162 714 636 110 182 34 7 15 75 27 7 66 82 .286 .353 .435 .789 105 277 6 3 4 5 3

Obviously, he's gotten worse over the years, but he's still managed to stay a decent hitter who you can count on for 10-20 homeruns and a good average. Now, I'm not sure whether he could still play in the OF but Oakland's outfield seems pretty much set for 2012, so he play pretty much solely at DH again; Johnny Gomes will spend time at DH, as may Chris Carter (though it also depends on who wins the 1B sweepstakes). Damon is interesting: he's not what he once was, but he still seems like a pretty good hitter who is also a good presence in the clubhouse as a veteran, champion of two World Series.

Here's the thing: where does Damon fit in? It seems whoever loses the 1B contest will get time at DH, as will Johnny Gomes. Damon's defense has decreased and the outfield is pretty much full. Johnny may be the most sensible option for the AThletics, but considering the current situation, signing him would just be a roadblock from some of the rookies and he would either be stealing playing time or not getting much.

Verdict: You could make a good case for Damon, but considering the A's current philosophy, he's not a fit for Oakland.

2: Vladimir Guerrero

Out of all three players, Guerrero may have the most impressive career stat line, even if Ramirez seems to be clearly better. First of all, Ramirez was on 'roids, so we don't know how much of his performance was actually him. Guerrero has 449 homeruns in his career and in 15 full seasons he has hit over .300 13 times. He was ROY in 1997 for the then Montreal Expos and has been named to 9 All-Star games; he was the 2004 MVP and has has finished amongst the Top 10 in voting 5 times. His stats show a scary amount of consistency.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1996 21 MON NL 9 27 27 2 5 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 3 .185 .185 .296 .481 24 8 1 0 0 0 0 /
1997 22 MON NL 90 354 325 44 98 22 2 11 40 3 4 19 39 .302 .350 .483 .833 117 157 11 7 0 3 2 RoY-6
1998 23 MON NL 159 677 623 108 202 37 7 38 109 11 9 42 95 .324 .371 .589 .960 150 367 15 7 0 5 13 * MVP-13
1999 24 MON NL 160 674 610 102 193 37 5 42 131 14 7 55 62 .316 .378 .600 .978 146 366 18 7 0 2 14 * AS,MVP-11,SS
2000 25 MON NL 154 641 571 101 197 28 11 44 123 9 10 58 74 .345 .410 .664 1.074 162 379 15 8 0 4 23 * AS,MVP-6,SS
2001 26 MON NL 159 671 599 107 184 45 4 34 108 37 16 60 88 .307 .377 .566 .943 139 339 24 9 0 3 24 * AS,MVP-24
2002 27 MON NL 161 709 614 106 206 37 2 39 111 40 20 84 70 .336 .417 .593 1.010 160 364 20 6 0 5 32 * AS,MVP-4,SS
2003 28 MON NL 112 467 394 71 130 20 3 25 79 9 5 63 53 .330 .426 .586 1.012 156 231 18 6 0 4 22 * MVP-17
2004 29 ANA AL 156 680 612 124 206 39 2 39 126 15 3 52 74 .337 .391 .598 .989 156 366 19 8 0 8 14 * AS,MVP-1,SS
2005 30 LAA AL 141 594 520 95 165 29 2 32 108 13 1 61 48 .317 .394 .565 .959 154 294 16 8 0 5 26 * AS,MVP-3,SS
2006 31 LAA AL 156 665 607 92 200 34 1 33 116 15 5 50 68 .329 .382 .552 .934 139 335 16 4 0 4 25 * AS,MVP-9,SS
2007 32 LAA AL 150 660 574 89 186 45 1 27 125 2 3 71 62 .324 .403 .547 .950 147 314 19 9 0 6 28 AS,MVP-3,SS
2008 33 LAA AL 143 600 541 85 164 31 3 27 91 5 3 51 77 .303 .365 .521 .886 130 282 27 4 0 4 16 MVP-14
2009 34 LAA AL 100 407 383 59 113 16 1 15 50 2 1 19 56 .295 .334 .460 .794 108 176 16 4 0 1 3 /
2010 35 TEX AL 152 643 593 83 178 27 1 29 115 4 5 35 60 .300 .345 .496 .841 119 294 19 9 0 6 5 AS,MVP-11,SS
2011 36 BAL AL 145 590 562 60 163 30 1 13 63 2 2 17 56 .290 .317 .416 .733 101 234 23 7 0 4 3 *D
16 Seasons 2147 9059 8155 1328 2590 477 46 449 1496 181 94 737 985 .318 .379 .553 .931 140 4506 277 103 0 64 250

162 Game Avg.

162 684 615 100 195 36 3 34 113 14 7 56 74 .318 .379 .553 .931 140 340 21 8 0 5 19

In 2002, he was one dinger away from joining the 40-40 club, and while he's lost almost all of his old speed (and his defensive capabilities), he can still be counted on for 15-25 homeruns and a high average. However, I don't think that his insane 2010 season was an accurate showing of his current capabilities; 36 year-olds rarely have 100 RBI season where they also hit .300. In 2012, I would expect him to put up the same kind of numbers that he put up for Baltimore, perhaps with a few more HR's; think .288/16/77 with .755 OPS.

Well, that's not so bad. The problem is, out of all three players, Vlad is the one who could probably ask for the most money (6-7 million for one year, maybe - I don't know the contract situations), he would be solely DH. Again, the same problem that came up with Damon arises with Vlad, except this time with balky knees. Also, while Damon will probably hit the same way he did in 2011 in 2012, there's a possibility that Vlad will come down to earth and release he's an old man; think .260/11/64. In that case, there's really no point in signing him.

Verdict: Again, interesting, but the chance of a complete failure and the lose of playing time for Carter & Co is too much of a risk.

3: Manny Ramirez

Out of these three players, Manny is the one I feel most strongly about. To put it simply, Manny Ramirez is an jerk. His repeated drug use coupled with his lousy attitude and the catastrophe that is the result of "Manny being Manny" makes him the one of the most disliked players in baseball. He's not going to be a fantastic hitter - perhaps not even a good hitter - he may get injured, and, of course, he'll miss the first 50 games of the season serving the 50-game suspension that he couldn't face last year but says that he'll serve in 2012 (unless he decides to retire again). For a team that seems to pride itself on being loose and fun, Manny is the last player you would want. For sake of being balanced, I'll put his stats here, but they make no difference to me.

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1993 21 CLE AL 22 55 53 5 9 1 0 2 5 0 0 2 8 .170 .200 .302 .502 34 16 3 0 0 0 0 /
1994 22 CLE AL 91 336 290 51 78 22 0 17 60 4 2 42 72 .269 .357 .521 .878 125 151 6 0 0 4 4 * RoY-2
1995 23 CLE AL 137 571 484 85 149 26 1 31 107 6 6 75 112 .308 .402 .558 .960 147 270 13 5 2 5 6 * AS,MVP-12,SS
1996 24 CLE AL 152 647 550 94 170 45 3 33 112 8 5 85 104 .309 .399 .582 .981 146 320 18 3 0 9 8 *
1997 25 CLE AL 150 651 561 99 184 40 0 26 88 2 3 79 115 .328 .415 .538 .953 144 302 19 7 0 4 5 *
1998 26 CLE AL 150 663 571 108 168 35 2 45 145 5 3 76 121 .294 .377 .599 .976 146 342 18 6 0 10 6 * AS,MVP-6
1999 27 CLE AL 147 640 522 131 174 34 3 44 165 2 4 96 131 .333 .442 .663 1.105 173 346 12 13 0 9 9 * AS,MVP-3,SS
2000 28 CLE AL 118 532 439 92 154 34 2 38 122 1 1 86 117 .351 .457 .697 1.154 186 306 9 3 0 4 9 AS,MVP-6,SS
2001 29 BOS AL 142 620 529 93 162 33 2 41 125 0 1 81 147 .306 .405 .609 1.014 160 322 9 8 0 2 25 AS,MVP-9,SS
2002 30 BOS AL 120 518 436 84 152 31 0 33 107 0 0 73 85 .349 .450 .647 1.097 184 282 13 8 0 1 14 AS,MVP-9,SS
2003 31 BOS AL 154 679 569 117 185 36 1 37 104 3 1 97 94 .325 .427 .587 1.014 160 334 22 8 0 5 28 * AS,MVP-6,SS
2004 32 BOS AL 152 663 568 108 175 44 0 43 130 2 4 82 124 .308 .397 .613 1.009 152 348 17 6 0 7 15 * AS,MVP-3,SS
2005 33 BOS AL 152 650 554 112 162 30 1 45 144 1 0 80 119 .292 .388 .594 .982 153 329 20 10 0 6 9 * AS,MVP-4,SS
2006 34 BOS AL 130 558 449 79 144 27 1 35 102 0 1 100 102 .321 .439 .619 1.058 165 278 13 1 0 8 16 * AS,MVP-18,SS
2007 35 BOS AL 133 569 483 84 143 33 1 20 88 0 0 71 92 .296 .388 .493 .881 126 238 21 7 0 8 13 * AS
2008 36 TOT MLB 153 654 552 102 183 36 1 37 121 3 0 87 124 .332 .430 .601 1.031 165 332 17 11 0 4 24 *7D AS,MVP-4
2008 36 LAD NL 53 229 187 36 74 14 0 17 53 2 0 35 38 .396 .489 .743 1.232 221 139 5 3 0 4 16
2008 36 BOS AL 100 425 365 66 109 22 1 20 68 1 0 52 86 .299 .398 .529 .926 137 193 12 8 0 0 8
2009 37 LAD NL 104 431 352 62 102 24 2 19 63 0 1 71 81 .290 .418 .531 .949 153 187 7 7 0 1 21
2010 38 TOT MLB 90 320 265 38 79 16 0 9 42 1 1 46 61 .298 .409 .460 .870 138 122 6 6 0 3 4 7D
2010 38 CHW AL 24 88 69 6 18 1 0 1 2 0 0 14 23 .261 .420 .319 .739 104 22 2 5 0 0 0
2010 38 LAD NL 66 232 196 32 61 15 0 8 40 1 1 32 38 .311 .405 .510 .915 150 100 4 1 0 3 4
2011 39 TBR AL 5 17 17 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 .059 .059 .059 .118 -66 1 0 0 0 0 0 /D
19 Seasons 2302 9774 8244 1544 2574 547 20 555 1831 38 33 1329 1813 .312 .411 .585 .996 154 4826 243 109 2 90 216
162 Game Avg. 162 688 580 109 181 38 1 39 129 3 2 94 128 .312 .411 .585 .996 154 340 17 8 0 6 15

There's no more to say: Manny has a bad attitude and will hurt the team far more then he'd help it.

Verdict: No, no and no again.

So that's it. Three veterans. Two of them, you could make a case for. But in conclusion, none of them would make much of a difference (they'd just be for one year anyway) and they would contradict the A's current rebuilding philosophy. Say what you want, but I'm not bought on any of them.

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