Manny Ramirez underwent hernia surgery shortly after the season ended, but yesterday agent Scott Boras told reporters that Ramirez “didn’t know about” the injury. Seriously.
According to Boras:
I’m not sure Manny knew about it. In fact, I know he didn’t know about it because we were all surprised. I don’t think Manny felt anything affected him during the season. It’s just the fact that when you find out you’ve got a situation where you’ve got to have surgery for a hernia-like situation, you obviously know it’s impactful. We found out that Manny had some medical maladies that had to be surgically repaired in the offseason. It had a pretty big impact on his performance.
Boras saying “it had a pretty big impact on his performance” despite also saying that Ramirez “didn’t know about it” is basically a perfect portrayal of the public’s perception of each person.
Boras is trying to spin it so that Ramirez’s complete lack of production following a trade to the White Sox can be blamed on the injury, no doubt to help stir up some free agent interest. At the same time Ramirez, who has long had a reputation for being oblivious to just about everything but hitting a baseball, played most of the season with a groin injury that eventually required surgery and “didn’t know about it.”
For whatever it’s worth, Boras also said that Ramirez is now fully recovered from the surgery and has a “good” market that involves “multiple teams” being interested. Whether or not Ramirez is aware of any of that remains unclear.
The Athletics have hired former MLB manager Matt Williams, the team announced Friday. Williams will take over third base coaching duties under manager Bob Melvin, filling the vacancy left by Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale after the 2017 season.
Williams is no stranger to the Bay Area, but this will be his first time sporting the green and gold. He got his start in pro ball with the rival Giants in 1987, where he manned third base and collected four All-Star nominations before jumping ship to the American League in 1997. After a one-year stint in the Indians’ organization, he returned to the NL to finish off his 17-season career and eventually hung up his cleats with the Diamondbacks in 2003.
Post-retirement, Williams has crafted a resume that almost over-qualifies him for a coaching gig. He led the Nationals to a cumulative 179-145 record from 2014 to 2015 and earned props as NL Manager of the Year after bringing the team to a first-place finish in 2014. In 2016, he split the season as a first and third base coach in the D-backs’ organization, then accepted a studio analyst position with the Giants for the 2017 season. Although he has yet to suit up for the Athletics in any role, he’s not unfamiliar with skipper Bob Melvin. The two were teammates on the Giants’ 1987-88 roster and spent some time in Arizona together when Melvin took a coaching job there in the early 2000s.
While next year’s reunion will be fun to watch (unless, I suppose, you’re a Giants fan with a long memory), Williams may not have his sights set on a coaching role forever. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reported back in July, the 51-year-old knows what it feels like to win as a manager, and it’s a position he might be open to pursuing in the future.
“For me, my most comfortable space is in uniform,” he told Shea. “I’ve done the ownership thing and front-office stuff, and that’s fun. The most gratification I get is swinging a fungo and throwing batting practice and being on the field. It’s what you know and love. I look at myself as a teacher first and foremost. At the end of the day, I think that’s how I have my greatest influence.”