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.
Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.
Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.
All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:
That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.
The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.
Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.
Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.
The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.