Will Manny Ramirez retire after 2010?

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Thumbnail image for manny ramirez option.jpgAfter noting the dearth of contract offers after 2008, and the utter lack of leverage he had with respect to his opt-out clause after last season, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times wonders whether 2010 will be Manny’s swan song:

This might well be the last season of Ramirez’s career. If he wants to
play for relative peanuts next year, maybe he finds a job. But given
the absence of a market for Ramirez over the last two winters as well
as the suspension and the decline in his production last season, who’s
to say he even gets a contract offer?

The dynamic Shaikin describes regarding Manny’s last two offseasons has not been about finding him employment, it’s been about optimizing his position among the richest of the rich contracts out there.  Of course he didn’t get multiple offers these past two winters: his fallback was in the $20 million range, and there are only a couple of clubs who ever venture in that territory, none of which needed a guy like Ramirez these past two years.

But the winter of 2010-11 is going to be an entirely different animal for Ramirez, and while I’ve taken my whacks at Scott Boras recently, he’s no dummy. Unless Manny puts up an MVP-caliber season, he’ll probably be looking for a DH or left field job paying him less than eight figures. And unless he utterly falls off a cliff this season, he should get no small amount of interest in that price range.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.