Rumours: Jays Looking at Manny Ramirez?

MLB.com beat reporter Gregor Chisholm took some reader emails and answered questions about the Jays possibly signing Manny Ramirez, the improved bullpen and who will be the closer in 2012.

Manny Ramirez was a major talking point last offseason when he became a free agent following a three-year tenure with the Dodgers, but contrary to rumours, the Blue Jays were never a serious contender for his services. Toronto opted instead to sign Edwin Encarnacion, because the club put an emphasis on having a designated hitter who also had the ability to play the field.

The 39-year-old Ramirez eventually signed a one-year contract with the Rays, but he abruptly stepped away from the game after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance during Spring Training. He still has to serve a 50-game suspension for that infraction if he makes a return to the Major Leagues.

If Toronto wasn’t interested last season, it seems even less likely the club would become involved in any talks this year. Encarnacion seems to be the preferred pick for the organization over a player who would be missed for almost a third of the year and has declining skills at the plate.

Analysis: Obviously having to serve a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs complicates any team possibly signing the former feared slugger.  He wasn’t exactly productive in his last season in the bigs (2011) as he played only 5 games and had 17 PAs for the Tampa Bay Rays. 

However, the season prior (2010) he played 90 games and slashed 298/409/460, .382 wOBA, 138 wRC+ – good for a 1.2 WAR.  There are teams at least interested in talking to Manny’s agent and one would assume it would be a non-guaranteed contract on a tryout basis.

Verdict: I don’t see the Jays signing Manny.

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