While browsing the headlines over at ESPN.com this afternoon I stumbled upon an interesting story regarding some comments by Manny Ramirez about possibly returning to Cleveland. Seeing as how the Indians are not providing much joy to the city of Cleveland right now with their 1-5 start (but plenty of joy for White Sox fans!), I figured I’d give all of you suffering Indians fans something to make you smile.
Here are Manny Ramirez’s comments about a possible return to Cleveland, from the original USA Today article by Bob Nightengale:
Manny Ramirez will be back in Los Angeles Monday to renew his love affair with the city, but before his career ends he hopes to be reunited with his first love: the Cleveland Indians.
“I would like to play for Cleveland one more time, to go back where I started,” said Ramirez, with the Dodgers playing their home opener Monday against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. “I have so many good memories there, why not?
“I think to go back where you started is everyone’s dream.”
The article goes on to discuss how Ramirez discussed the possibility during the offseason with former Indian and current White Sox DH Jim Thome. Thome says that Ramirez was “very sincere” when talking about rounding up all of the old school Indians for one more run in the AL Central.
“Me and Thome back in Cleveland?” Ramirez said. “That would be sweet.”
Apparently Albert Belle was not available for comment.
But before Indians fans get all excited and start packing Travis Hafner’s bags for him (if they are not doing that already), our buddies over at Waiting For Next Year provide a Lee Corso-style not-so-fast-my-friends.
From the WFNY story on the Manny Ramirez back to Cleveland comments:
Well, I can tell you what wonâ€™t happen: Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez coming back to Cleveland. Itâ€™s not saying that I wouldnâ€™t welcome them both back; they would put a ton of fans in the seats, and a few baseballs in the bleachers. But to say that this team has moved on without Manny and Jim Thome would be an understatement.
Among the many reasons cited by WFNY for why Ramirez and Thome coming back to Cleveland won’t happen are the youth of the Indians and the fact that their future currently resides in Columbus with promising youngsters Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley.
I obviously don’t know the Indians inside and out, but I certainly cannot see something like this happening. While I’m sure Manny Ramirez would love to return to Cleveland, he certainly would not do so for free, and I cannot see the Indians shelling out significant money to get him — or they would have done it this offseason when Ramirez was available. In regards to Thome, the Indians would have to pull the cord on the Travis Hafner career life support and eat a huge chunk of change to open up the DH slot. I just cannot see that happening either.
And I will say this about Jim Thome: I wouldn’t want to see him go. Up until last year, I would have gladly shipped him back to the Indians. For whatever reason I always hated Thome, and I was not excited when the White Sox signed him. But he has grown on me the more removed he becomes from his Indians career, and the more I open my mind up to the value he brings to the South Side, both as a lefty power hitter and a clubhouse leader. Now that I’ve finally fully embraced Thome as a true South Sider, I hope he retires with the White Sox. I sure as hell don’t want to have to go back to hating him again if heads back over to Cleveland.
So while I’m sure it’s fun for Indians fans to think about a Ramirez-Thome reunion, much as it would be for White Sox fans to consider Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura reuniting at the corners, I think the chances of it happening are slim to none. At least Ramirez and Thome are still highly productive players, unlike the injured Thomas and retired Ventura, but it would signal a complete shift in organizational direction for the Indians. A shift that, I agree with WFNY, will not happen.
Now, maybe if they could bring back, say, Jaret Wright to replace Cliff Lee in the rotation we might actually be talking about something plausible…