Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the White Sox have reached the point of desperation. With six weeks left in the season the White Sox sit 4.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins. They have been in free fall recently, one month ago, July 24th, the White Sox were up 2 games on the Twins. A 15-15 record since made room for the Twins to go on a run, and they certainly did, going 22-8 over the same time period.
Now the White Sox sit in a very desperate situation, still technically in contention, but in need of a boost. While their bullpen collapsing has been the biggest reason for the recent skid, the offense hasn’t been much help. Alex Rios has been hitting poorly out of the three spot, Mark Kotsay has continued to struggle as the DH, Carlos Quentin and Alexei Ramirez have cooled off. This team needs an impact bat right now, and there just so happens to be one on the market.
Manny Ramirez is about to become a free agent, the Dodgers are out of the race and tired of his act, they are expected to place him on waivers at any moment. We know at the trade deadline Kenny Williams tried to trade for Manny, now he has the chance to get him. The White Sox absolutely should take the risk involved in claiming Ramirez on waivers, outside of financial considerations there is no way they lose here.
Manny can still hit, he has a .391 wOBA this season, and at U.S. Cellular Field his low home run total (8) will get a boost. The White Sox won’t have to play him in the field, which will really help keep his legs (which have been injury prone recently) healthy. The price tag is a little high, at $4.25 million, but at least $3 million of that is deferred, and if Kenny Williams needs to, he can surrender a low level prospect in exchange for a little cash. Ramirez would immediately make the White Sox lineup better, and help keep the White Sox in the race.
This isn’t to say he doesn’t have some downside. Manny is a moody guy who tends to drift when he doesn’t care. That is why the Red Sox moved him to the Dodgers, and why the Dodgers don’t want him anymore. He is also a guy who has shown he can really hit when he does care, and the last time he needed to play for a contract, he carried the Dodgers to the NLCS. Ozzie Guillen has juggled personalities before, and while Manny might be the most difficult guy Ozzie has ever had to deal with, I wouldn’t put him past him to get Manny to buy in.
For six weeks, the desperate White Sox should absolutely add Manny. The white hot Twins could add former MVP Justin Morneau to the lineup at some point soon, which would just push them further ahead in the division race. Standing pat at this point would be the equivalent of giving up, eat the $4 million, claim Manny, and give the Twins a run.
UPDATE: Fox Sports says Kenny Williams plans to claim Manny, so good times.