What Impact would Manny Ramirez have on the Giants?
The Giants have been linked to slugger Manny Ramirez for quite some time now. He seems like a logical fit, what with the Giants desperately needing an impact bat in the middle of the order and a big name to draw in the fans. It’s not implausible to imagine that the Giants are only one big bat away from winning the division. So, Manny sounds like a good fit. He’s still one of the best right-handed hitters in the game, even at 36—but he’s also a prima donna that has a poor glove and isn’t going to get any younger. The outfield situation in San Francisco is crowded to begin with, what with an emerging young everyday player in Fred Lewis, the (seemingly) immovable contract in Aaron Rowand, and the most consistent player on the Giants, Randy Winn. Then there’s also young Nate Schierholtz, who’s just itching (and deservedly so) for regular playing time in the Majors. And don’t even mention Dave Roberts. I’m praying that he’s cut loose in the Spring.
Rumor has it that if the Giants sign Manny, Lewis would be moved to Right Field. I assume this means that Winn will be dealt—he’s far too valuable a player to sit on the bench, and the Giants would be better suited to either play him everyday or use him to grab a player or two. How much of a difference would Manny make on the Giants?
Let’s try and figure it out. I’ll be using CHONE projections for both hitting and defense (prorated to 150 games). Hitting is park-adjusted and expressed in Runs Above Replacement (in a 4.5 RpG environment), which I’ve derived from linear weights, and baserunning is based on a two-year average. Also incorporated are Arm Runs (which are also averaged) and positional adjustments.
First, the two incumbent Giants:
Total Runs: +23.09
Total Runs: +14.93
And now, Manny:
Total Runs: +34.13
Manny’s bat alone is worth more than Winn and Lewis’ total individual contributions to the team—by an incredible 31 runs. In terms of total contribution, however, Manny’s value takes a hit because of his poor glovework.
Based on this projection, it’d be wise to sit Lewis and play Winn everyday in RF to maximize the team’s chances of winning, otherwise we’d be gaining about one total win. Even with Lewis sitting and with the addition of Manny, we’re looking at a total gain of ~1.92 wins. I have some personal quips with the projection—I do think Lewis stands a chance of being a 2 – 2.5 WAR player, and if that’s the case, I don’t know if it’s really worth signing Manny.
In any case, Ramirez would have something of a limited impact on the Giants in 2009—but I suppose the term “impact” is relative in this scenario—for all we know, those two extra wins just might be enough to propel the Giants into the playoffs for the first time since 2003.