Tampa Bay, The Retirement Home For Baseball Players

I’m at the San Jose Sharks game this evening with my brother, and writing this post on my iPhone, so it’ll be short.

I asked Alex, “What should I write about?” His suggestion was the recent signings of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon by the Tampa Bay Rays.

My reaction: Low risks for Tampa, and short money. The Ramirez signing in particular was very low risk, only one year at $2 million. If he’s not producing, or he’s a malcontent, he can be released without a big loss on the investment. Neither guy has a lot left in the tank, but combined, they start to replace the offense lost when Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena left as free agents.

The state of Florida has always been where old people go to retire, and the Tampa Bay franchise is no exception. There’s a precedent set by Wade Boggs, a former Red Sox star, goes elsewhere for continued success, then arrives in Tampa to reach a career milestone and finish his career. For Boggs, it was his 3000th hit, which came in a Tampa uniform. Damon needs two more productive years, maybe three, to get to the 3000 hit plateau. Manny is fairly close as well, but probably won’t play long enough to get to 600 home runs.

Either way, I don’t expect these signings to keep the balance of power with Tampa Bay in the AL East. My Red Sox reloaded with Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, rebuilt the bullpen with Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler and others, and can’t possibly have as many injuries as last year. The evil Yankees should be as formidable as last year, although not likely to be better.

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