Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

The new face of the White Sox - the Manny Era begins

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2008_08_manny.jpgCLEVELAND - Mark Kotsay sat in a chair, chewing on a power bar hours before Monday's game with the Cleveland Indians and a day before "Manny being Manny'' becomes an overplayed slogan around the South Side.
If there was one current White Sox player that should have been upset with the news that Manny Ramirez was acquired off the waiver wire by general manager Ken Williams earlier in the day, it should have been Kotsay. After all, his playing time is about to go from sufficient to suffering overnight and at a crucial part of the season.
"You shouldn't have feelings, not in this game,'' Kotsay said. "That's my goal from the get-go ... in Arizona [back in spring training], how do we get to the finish line in first place? I don't worry about playing time, I don't worry about at-bats at this point. You just worry about getting to the postseason.''
Kotsay wasn't alone, either, as the entire organization was sending the same voice.
"Yes, we did try to get him at the deadline,'' Williams said of the entire Ramirez saga. "The thought behind it was very simply for us we not only want to get into the playoffs, but once we get into the playoffs we'd like to have a chance to do something special. The teams that are there have some good pitching and you're going to need to need a hitter that can not only hit good pitching but hit good pitching in the clutch. This guy's been there and done that before and it's just a matter I think of him getting his timing back and he'll be effective.''
Better yet as far as Williams was concerned, he landed Ramirez without giving anything back in return. It ended up being a straight waiver wire move, which put the Sox in the books for approximately $1 million that needs to be paid this year and another $2.8 million that needs to be paid by 2013.
"We had an opportunity to put a player, various players actually, into the deal and cut into some of the money, but we determined that we'd rather be awarded the player on a claim and keep our talent to be able to continue to be able to challenge for a championship every year,'' Williams said. "So that was our decision, at the end of the day, to absorb the dollars. And we feel good about it for the 2010 season and depending on what we do, we'll feel good about it when the rest of his money is due in 2013.
"But if we're all wearing rings around here, or we gave ourselves the best shot, you don't even have to wear the ring. You just have to feel like you gave it your best shot to capitalize on a season that can be great.''
Ramirez is flying to Cleveland before Tuesday's game, and manager Ozzie Guillen wasn't sure if he would have him in the lineup to make his debut or not, but the hope is Ramirez can add a presence to a lineup that in moments this season has vanished for games, even weeks, at a time.
Ramirez, 38, might be the right guy for the job, considering his resume reads like a Hall of Famer, hitting a career .313 with 554 home home runs, 1,828 RBI and 1,538 runs scored over an 18-year career.
Then there's that little matter of what he did in 2008 after the Dodgers acquired him, carrying Los Angeles to the postseason by hitting .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in 53 games.
His mission now? Help make up the four games the Sox need to in order to run down the first-place Twins.
"It's about 25 guys, well maybe about 31 because maybe three, four, five guys come up,'' Guillen said. "It's about everyone man. OK, what if we have Manny here and he hits a three-run home run and we're down by seven runs? It doesn't mean anything. Everybody here has work to do. If we do what we're supposed to do then we will make a run. If Manny comes here and is unbelievable, that might help, but that doesn't guarantee any wins. Not because he's here, 'Oh, we're in.' ''
Guillen plans to hit Ramirez fifth, and also to play him primarily as the DH. There could be a few innings spent in left field to give Juan Pierre a breather, but very few.
As far as the Sox extending an offer to Ramirez - a free agent-to-be - beyond 2010, Williams wouldn't rule anything out.
"I go into this with an open mind,'' Williams said. "He is our DH right now. Let's see how it goes; let's see how he fits. Let's see how we all end up and what we have to work with dollar wise next year. But that's 2011. Let's worry about 2010 now is my message to everyone.''

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1 Comment

This should be interesting..wonder if he will be shunned by the all the cool kids in the locker room just like Swisher was..

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on August 30, 2010 7:09 PM.

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