So Johnny Damon and Manny go to the Rays. Who would've thought that Johnny Damon would get paid more for a year than Manny? Johnny gets $5.25 million; Manny gets just over $2 million. Not chump change for sure, but the Rays are saying right now that Damon is worth $3 million more than Manny. Think about that a second! Who could've seen that 5 years ago? (Come to think of it, Jason Bay, who replaced Manny with the Sox, isn't doing so hot these days, either.)
Don't think it's Manny being Manny that got him the lower contract, either. It's the spectre of the 'roids, of course. I haven't seen Manny play every day for a couple of years now, but talk has it that his swing has holes now, that his wrist action is just a touch slower. That's the absence of 'roids, people say. I don't know. But I have to say that I wouldn't pay a negative, whining, complaining slugger, who can't slug well and never could field well (though honesty compels me to say that his outfield throws have usually been very accurate)--and he's got a lousy work ethic, too.
Damon will give his all, and be largely inappropriate as he does so. He'll field well and throw badly. He'll draw his share of walks and pull some homers to right. He'll steal quite a few bases if they let him play full-time, though he'll need to rest more these days. People don't realize what a workhorse he used to be, playing over 155 games a year for many consecutive years. All told, one of the more under-appreciated players of my baseball-watching career, which started in the mid-80s. He'll be sabermatricians' favorite player by the time he retires. He'll probably fall just short of the hall. Manny, after the writers have punished him long enough for the 'roids and his on-field antics, will get in, probably after his 8th or 9th try.