Notable Numerals: Manny Ramirez, Mike Napoli and More

As August 31st is now upon us, it marks the end of the waiver trade period for MLB teams. If a player is not on a team’s roster by the 31st, today, then they cannot be on the team’s post-season roster. There has been plenty of activity during this past month including many players who were claimed, but deals could not be worked out and released players finding new homes. Most recently, we saw slugger Manny Ramirez head to the Chicago White Sox, who need a big spark to make up their 4.5 game deficit in the AL Central. Not all of the claims and signings made sense, so here’s a look at the numbers connected to some of the biggest names that were either involved in a trade, claimed or signed this past month. Enjoy!

Stints on the DL for new Chicago White Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez. The Chicago White Sox are sitting just outside playoff contention in the AL Central and knew they had to get a big name star that could motivate a big late season comeback. When Manny Ramirez was placed on waivers just a few days ago, the White Sox jumped at the chance to gobble up the embattled superstar and use him as a catalyst for overtaking the Minnesota Twins for the division title. On Monday afternoon, it became official that the White Sox acquired the slugger, opting to eat the remainder of his salary, approximately $4 million, instead of sending a prospect or 2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Manny will go to Chicago and dominate like he can, right? It’s anyone’s guess.

The one thing we know for sure is that Manny tends to begin his tenures in new places with a bang. After begin traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline in 2008, Manny hit .396 in the remaining 53 games of the season, belting 17 homeruns and driving in 53 rbis in 229 at-bats. He became an instant fan-favorite and a section of the Dodgers Park was nicknamed Mannywood. As with his stint in Boston however, that only began his downward spiral that resulted in a 50-game suspension for using a banned substance and then, like he did with the Red Sox, essentially forcing the hand of the Dodgers ownership to move him to a new club.

This year has been filled with injuries and DL stints for the slugger, but through it all he has hit .311 with 8 home runs and a .405 slugging percentage. The White Sox are hoping to see the embittered Manny who wants to stick it to his former team and make them jealous, but how long will that push last and will it be enough for Chicago to make the post-season? Who knows, but it certainly has already created plenty of headlines in the windy city.

Batting average against left-handed pitchers for Mike Napoli who was claimed by the Boston Red Sox this past weekend. In a surprising move this past Sunday, the Boston Red Sox claimed Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim catcher Mike Napoli. It was an interesting move, because if for some reason the Sox could bring in Napoli, then their need to resign current catcher, and free agent at the end of this season, Victor Martinez would drop drastically. I’m not saying that Napoli and Martinez are similar players, but it certainly would allow the Red Sox to spend money in other areas of the game. That however, is not going to happen for several reasons.

The Angels and Mike Scioscia love Mike Napoli and rate him highly among catchers and first-baseman (a position he plays often). Napoli can hit home runs with the best of them, 21 this season and 20+ in his last 3 seasons, but has struggled behind the plate, throwing out just 24% of potential base stealers in his career (hence why he is playing a lot of 1st base). Napoli also struggles to hit for average, at a career mark hovering slightly above .250, but has been on fire against left-handed pitchers this year, hitting in the mid-.300’s. Regardless of his stats, this move is likely a block rather than an potential for a legitimate deal.

The Red Sox and Theo Epstein have a keen eye for the competition and likely felt one of their AL East foes was going in for the kill with Napoli and decided to stop that move from happening. Let’s be honest, the Sox aren’t going to give up a top prospect to bring in a mid-.200’s hitter, even if he has power to spare.

Slugging percentage for catcher Rod Barajas since joining the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. Before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash last week, Barajas was having a slightly below average season offensively. In 74 games with the New York Mets, Barajas was hitting .225 with an awful .263 slugging percentage and 12 home runs on the season. Since that point, a change of uniform has been great for the soon-to-be 36 year old, who has belted 2 home runs in 16 at-bats and sits with a .462 batting average and a .563 slugging percentage in a Dodgers uniform. Barajas also collected 2 doubles, but no one expects this hot streak to continue for too long.

Barajas was brought into Los Angeles to add depth at the catching position, something the Dodgers have been seeking out for a little while. Barajas has been a nomad throughout his career, playing for his 6th team since 2003, after spending the 1st five years of his career with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Barajas is mostly known for his strong defensive abilities, posting a career .992 fielding percentage (.995 this season) and his ability to throw out potential base-stealers at a 33% clip, but has been struggling this year, throwing out just 4 of 29 who have tried (14%). Overall, the deal doesn’t do much for the Dodgers this season, especially after dumping Manny Ramirez and his massive salary, but it is good to see a classy player succeed, even if it is short-lived.

RBIs for Detroit Tigers outfielder/DH Johnny Damon who was claimed by the Red Sox last week. When the news crossed the Boston media outlets that the Red Sox had claimed former outfielder and self-proclaimed ‘idiot’, Johnny Damon, the debate immediately began. Should the Sox trade for Damon or is it a mistake? Can Red Sox nation forgive him for going to the Yankees? Can he help the team make a post-season push? It was a whirlwind of attention that ultimately resulted in nothing. Damon had a no-trade clause to Boston, so it was ultimately up to him to determine if the Sox would add depth in the outfield. A day later, Damon determined his home was Detroit and that a move to the Sox was not in his future.

No matter which side of the fence people sat, it is impossible to overlook Damon’s poor offensive numbers in 2010. He has hit just .270 with 7 home runs and a slugging percentage of an even .400, all of which are at or near career lows for the aging outfielder who has spent more games (74) at DH in 2010 than in the outfield (36), dropping his value even further. The once speedy outfielder has always had a poor arm, but could make up for that deficiency with his speed and ability to make outstanding plays. Now that his speed has disappeared, his defensive shortcomings are even more obvious and impossible to overlook. The 36-year old seems happy with his role in Detroit as a mentor to their young outfielders, Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn.

K to BB ratio for former Florida Marlins and current San Francisco Giants outfielder Cody Ross. Since coming over to the Florida Marlins in the middle of the 2006 season, Ross has become a consistent fan favorite in Miami. In his 3 full years with the Marlins (2007-2009), Ross hit .276 with 58 home runs and 202 rbis in 1,193 at bats. He is a versatile outfielder who spent time at all three positions every year and even pitched an inning for the Marlins last season (1 IP, no hits, no runs). The downside of Ross has always been his high strikeout numbers and poor K to BB ratio (3.24 for his career). The San Fransisco Giants don’t seem to mind and have enjoyed Ross since he arrived on the scene last week.

In 4 games with the Giants, Ross has 4 hits and 2 rbis in 13 plate appearances. He of course has 3 K’s, but with a .333 average in a small sample size, the Giants are excited about what he can bring to the table. Ross is arbitration eligible in 2011 and then, as of now, will become a free agent in 2012. There is some upside for the Giants, considering Ross is just 29, and the belief is that he has a few peak years left in him to develop and grow. You never know what a change of scenery can do for a young-ish player’s career, it may even be the best thing that has ever happened to him. The Giants are certainly hoping they have found a gem in the rough and can polish him into an even better major league outfielder in the future.

Brian Phair – BoSox Injection – Notable Numerals

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Topics: AL East, Austin Jackson, Boston Red Sox, Brennan Boesch, Chicago White Sox, Cody Ross, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Johnny Damon, LA Angels, LA Dodgers, Manny Ramirez, Mike Napoli, Mike Scioscia, New York Mets, Notable Numerals, Rod Barajas, Ryan Raburn, San Francisco Giants, Theo Epstein, Trades, Victor Martinez, Waiver Claims

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