Does any GM have the guts to take a chance on Manny Ramirez?

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Manny
is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment this week, which means he should be activated and will return to the Dodgers before the August 31st waiver deal deadline. And if he’s back, you can bet the Dodgers will place him on waivers (as Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney both note today).  So: anyone gonna claim him?

Ramirez is still owed about $3-5
million for the rest of this season. His rate stats for the year are good, and as everyone knows, a motivated Manny has the potential to be a difference maker. Still, I think the odds favor Ramirez clearing waivers and being dealt to a team that is willing to have him, but not his entire salary.

My thinking: despite the upside, standard business politics are going to win the day here, and the politics of the situation go like this: no GM is going to be blamed for not taking an available Manny Ramirez. Many GMs won’t be blamed for taking Manny Ramirez at a discount. Almost any GM, however, will set himself up for massive criticism if he takes a full-price Manny Ramirez on waivers and the move results in anything less than a playoff berth.

There’s just too much baggage with Ramirez anymore. He’s the kind of guy that can get someone fired. And no one is going to risk that.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.