Friday, Aug. 27, 2010
By Brett Ballantini
Manny Ramirez has been cleared for landing with the Chicago White Sox. But there still are a number of details to work out before the uberslugger can suit up in baggy black pinstripes.
Chicagos waiver claim on the Los Angeles outfielder was awarded on Friday afternoon, which means the White Sox and Dodgers have until Tuesday to work out a trade.
Several factors could stand in the way of Ramirezs return to the American League. First, obviously, the two clubs could fail to agree on adequate compensation. Second, Ramirezbelieved to have already OKd a deal to the White Soxcould choose to invoke his no-trade rights and remain in Los Angeles. Third, the Dodgers could win their series this weekend at the Colorado Rockies, find themselves back in the thick of the playoff race and decide to keep Ramirez for themselves.
All that said, it would seem that the chances are better than 50-50 that Ramirez, braided locks and all, will play in Chicago before years end.
That notwithstanding, the White Sox arent holding their breaths waiting for the braids to fly at U.S. Cellular Field.
When he walks in the clubhouse, thats when its time to talk about it, Chicago captain Paul Konerko said. As far as him being a teammate, Manny can hit, everybody knows that. The guy is a Hall-of-Famer. Hes going to help any team hes on, at any time. The guy can drive in a tough run. Hes one of the best right-handed hitters to play this game, ever.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was equally wary of hopping on the bus to Mannywood.
I havent seen Manny play in years, he said. He played a couple of at-bats against us in Scottsdale. I havent seen him at all. I have to see him.
Even after it was announced that the White Sox had succeeded in its claim on Ramirez, cagey GM Ken Williams would not acknowledge that hed claimed him.
Its a gamble if you step out thereas we often dobecause in a two- or three-day period, you could be farther back or closer and you wonder whether or not you did the right thing, Williams said, varying from the duplicate waiver script he promised to deliver on Thursday.
Then theres the matter of not just whether Ramirez can play for the White Sox, but where he would play.
He can DH, hopefully he can play a little but in the outfield but Manny only plays left field and Ive got a good one playing right now, Guillen said. Im not going to take any at-bats or playing time from Juan Pierre to give to Manny. Mannys going to be DHing. I dont know. I might get in trouble talking about whether hes here or not. Well see what happens.
Hes going to help any team, but its still not done, cautioned Konerko, while adding that despite his captaincy he was not consulted on a possible Ramirez acquisition. Im sure Chicago and Los Angeles have to talk about things and details have to be worked out. And if theyre not worked out, the Dodgers can just pull him back and it doesnt get done. He cant help us tonight, I know that. Thats all Im thinking about.
Said Williams, pushing right past his customary cryptic and into downright enigmatic: It will be an interesting weekend, in more ways than one.
Or, Guillens take: At least well be talking about Manny and not about Ozzie.
Brett Ballantini is CSNChicago.coms White Sox Insider. Follow him @CSNChi_Beatnik on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Sox information.