Manny Ramirez is back, and he's ready to roll. Well, maybe not quite. Ramirez did sign a minor league contract to return to baseball, this time with the Oakland Athletics, but there are still three problems: he's been out of baseball for a year, he's 40 and he still has to face a 50-game suspension. Aside from those little (OK, big) issues, things are looking up.
Can Manny help the A's? It's a complicated question for several reasons, but in short, it's possible. Ramirez may be 40 years old, but he's going to have an extended period of time to get himself back in playing shape. In some ways, his second suspension from baseball was a blessing in disguise (although it really should not have worked out that way), because Ramirez basically has an extended spring training to work his way back into shape.
However, if he can get healthy -- and it's a big if -- Manny could definitely help the A's. Time and the elements are working against him, but remember, Oakland probably isn't expecting him to hit 40 home runs. That's just not who he is anymore.
That being said, if Manny can find his swing as a designated hitter (let's face it, the recently retired Tim Wakefield could probably do a better job fielding than Manny could right now), he could certainly reach 20 (or even 30) home runs. So for now, we'll all have to play the waiting game. But don't sleep on Manny. If you do, you'll probably pay for it.
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