Some national reaction to Rays expected signing of Ramirez and Damon
There have been plenty of writers and analysts who have given their thoughts on the Rays expected signing of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, and, for the most part, they've been positive.
The moves has been generally seen as a good gamble, a low-risk (and not horribly expensive) with the chance to pay off and help Tampa Bay continue to compete in the AL East.
Time will tell, but here's a few samples:
Rob Neyer of ESPN.com: “I think this is simply the product of a management team that’s grown accustomed to relevance, and isn’t willing to just punt a season until absolutely necessary. Remember, this is a franchise that finished ahead of the Red Sox and the Yankees in both 2008 and 2010. And now they’re just supposed to give up? When the Yankees have three legitimate starting pitchers and one of them is A.J. Burnett and nobody other than the Yankees and the Red Sox seem like good bets to win 90 games? Would you give up? I wouldn’t, and the Rays quite obviously haven’t.”
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com: “The fits aren’t perfect. Damon will get most of his at-bats in left field, and at this stage of his career he is more of a DH. Ramirez will act up at some point — or, more likely, several points — though Damon could be a positive influence and the Tampa Bay market is as low-key as it gets.”
Jonah Keri of FanGraphs: “They’ll win more games than they would have before these two moves. And even in perhaps the most fickle market in all of Major League Baseball, they may well draw more fans with Sideshow Manny in town, even after stripping out the effects of a higher win total. The Rays might still be a third-place team in 2011. But they’ll have plenty to YIPYIPYIP about.”
Joe Lemire, SI.com: "Rumors of the Rays' demise, which already had been greatly exaggerated, have been extinguished thanks to the shrewd cunning of the club's executive vice president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, who has kept Tampa Bay in contention despite cutting its payroll by more than 40 percent....
"The booing this summer in Boston and New York will be legendary for each visit from the Rays, whose two newest additions have spurned Tampa Bay's big brother rivals but who may represent the pieces the Rays need to sustain their ability to threaten in the American League East...
"Damon and Ramirez are stopgap signings but should help the once-lowly Devil Rays achieve the longevity needed to rechristen the division's axis of power into a Big Three. (Given Toronto's heist from earlier in the evening to dump Vernon Wells' massive contract and free its budget to further improve its own on-the-rise club, it may only be a couple years before there's a Big Four.)"
Eric Ortiz, NESN: "Putting Damon and Manny in Rays uniforms adds a whole new level of intrigue to the East. Maybe that’s part of Scott Boras' master plan to conquer the world. Maybe Tampa Bay was the only team willing to pay each veteran more than the league minimum.
Whatever the reason, Damon and Manny are back in the Beast.
They will be coming to Fenway Park nine times in 2011 and playing the Red Sox 18 games.
They will be stopping by Yankee Stadium nine times and facing the Yankees 18 games.
They will be making trips to Baltimore and Toronto.
Joe Maddon isn’t complaining. Neither is Bud Selig.
The former Red Sox stars are smart pickups for the Rays. They might be past their "Cowboy Up" days, but at the very least, Damon and Manny will put fans in the seats at Tropicana Field."