It doesn’t surprise me too much that Manny Ramirez is coming back.  He’s never been afraid of embarrassing himself, knowingly or otherwise.  It also doesn’t surprise me that the Oakland A’s would sign him.  For a while now, Oakland has subscribed to the theory of making splashes by signing past-their-prime vets.  (Hey Billy!  Sabean says thinks for taking that Hideki Matsui decision off his hands!)

What has been surprising is the number of sportswriters who are absolutely slobbering themselves saying what a great move this is.

Okay, it’s cheap.  I get that.  Everyone gets that.  ‘No risk’ is the oft-repeated phrase I’ve seen.

But these are guys who look at on-the-field and in-the-bankroll reasons.  When it comes to Man-Ram, there’s a hell of a lot more to it than that.  There’s the distraction, even in spring training, that he causes.  There’s the bad habits he sets for younger players…like, oh, I don’t know, some kid from the Caribbean who’s never played in American ball before.  If I’m Billy Beane, I keep Ramirez away from Cespedes like I’d keep Pat Burrell away from any female who I’m related to, have had a crush on, or even remotely have respect for.  And I like Pat Burrell.

Also, for a team that tries to market itself as an alternative to everything Giants, bringing in the most flamboyant banned-substance user of our time isn’t going to do much to go against the stereotype* of the Giants.

But even then, if he makes the team (and who are we kidding, short of falling on his face, he’ll make the team because who else will in Oakland?), there’s the on-field performance.  He’s 40-years old.  He’s been away from the game for a long time, and he’ll be away from it for longer.  And that’s just the offense.  I hope the A’s have a pitching coach furiously teaching everyone to throw a sinker in case Manny starts demanding to play the field.

There is nothing good that will come of this for the A’s.  I’d say the same thing about Manny, but frankly, he can go implode and go to whichever former-planet that Dennis Rodman is hanging out on.

Notably, the only sportswriter who isn’t in favor of this?  The one writer who actually cares about the image of the A’s (if only because he so desperately wants them to be the ‘San Jose A’s’), Mark Purdy.

Oh, and by the way, if you’re the type of person who would draft Manny Ramirez to your fantasy team….you are heartily invited to come join our fantasy league on Yahoo!  It’s called ‘Sabermetrics 4 the Casual Fan’, now with no password necessary!

*-Implicitly means ‘Stereotypes are not reality’.