08/24/10 8:30 PM ET
If Manny is made available, Sox could pounce
Chicago a potential destination if LA places Ramirez on waivers
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Yet, there was White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, answering a handful of questions about Ramirez during his pregame media session Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field. White Sox players were asked in the clubhouse about the possibility of Ramirez joining the White Sox and how his interesting persona would play with a new team.
It was the overriding topic of conversation prior to Tuesday's first pitch against the Orioles for pretty much everyone but general manager Ken Williams, who had to answer in generalities.
"Well if I spoke on that, it's a violation of tampering rules, and it's very clear and prohibited for me to speak on another player on another team," Williams said. "You guys know me. I prefer to sit back, and when we do something we'll make an announcement. Otherwise, there's just no sense talking about anything."
Williams then proceeded to talk about Ramirez -- without talking about Ramirez -- for the next 12 minutes.
This topic first took root back at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti talked about getting a call from one club, and "they offered us a very low dollar with no player attached to it."
Colletti pointed out how they didn't start the interaction or float Ramirez's name. Williams explained at the time how they felt good about the team they have assembled, but they always were in search of an impact player.
Times have changed for the White Sox, who enter Tuesday night's series opener having produced just five wins in their past 16 games. They entered Tuesday's slate of action trailing the Twins by 4 1/2 games in the American League Central, and while the White Sox figured a 28-8 run to move them from nine games under .500 on June 8 to a 3 1/2-game division lead on July 20 wouldn't last the whole season, Williams might want to make a big move before the end of August to chase down the Twins.
Williams actually spoke at Monday's White Sox Charity Bowling event about not having a great read on where his team stands with 38 games remaining.
"Sometimes we play very well, and sometimes we play very poorly," Williams said with a laugh. "I have no idea when it's coming. If you are looking for answers, I'm not the guy."
Maybe Ramirez has the answers -- or is the answer.
According to a Tuesday morning Tweet from Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports, the White Sox plan to claim Ramirez.
A player on waivers can be claimed by any team, and if multiple teams put in a claim, the team with the worst record would have the player offered. The original team then has 48 hours to work out a trade with the claiming team or remove the player from waivers. A player can be pulled back just once, but if he clears waivers either the first or second time through, the team can attempt to trade him to any team.
Ramirez, 38, would have to waive his no-trade clause for any possibility to join the White Sox. He has a .312 average with eight home runs and 39 RBIs this season, playing in just 62 games due to a myriad of injuries, including a right calf strain that limited him to one hitless game since July 17.
A White Sox plan of usage would be to employ Ramirez exclusively as the designated hitter, which wouldn't exactly help Chicago's struggling and injury-plagued bullpen. But the White Sox would roll the dice on Ramirez, hoping he responds in a final month before free agency -- just as he did by hitting .396 with 53 RBIs in 53 games after being traded from Boston to the Dodgers in 2008.
Williams admitted Monday that he didn't expect any player to slip through waivers. But having Ramirez slip through might become a more likely scenario than Williams indicated. Ramirez figures to be viewed by most teams as a DH, pretty much eliminating National League squads from putting in a claim, while the interested AL teams probably would be limited to playoff contenders -- not to mention the remainder of what Ramirez is owed in 2010, which checks in at just short of $4.5 million, although much of that is deferred.
The White Sox have the worst record of any AL squad with postseason aspirations, unless the Angels or A's still feel they can catch the Rangers in the West. Therefore, Williams would have the first opportunity to claim Ramirez.
Don't think for a second Ramirez's injuries or his ability to fit in with the current team will deter Williams.
"The perfect fit is less important than production, I think, in the last month of the season, the last 30 games, and that's not to say I don't factor it in," Williams said. "I always factor it in and how it fits in the makeup of who we are and what we are.
"You can only get on someone's nerves so much in 30 days. So you come in, you produce, we win, everybody's happy. You don't, the guy you didn't like, he leaves anyway. Just being honest."
Financial concerns will be discussed with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf before any potential move takes place. Guillen comically interjected how he wants to see Reinsdorf take on Ramirez's dreadlocks, going against the chairman's mandate for proper haircuts that led to A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede making a trip to the barber in 2006.
Guillen knows Ramirez will abide by his rules if he makes it to the South Side of Chicago, or he won't play. So the scenario has been thoroughly laid out, even without the move officially taking place.
"Can he help us? I don't know, because he hasn't played in the big leagues in a while," Guillen said. "Does he make our ballclub better if he's a presence in the lineup? Yes. Is he going to make everybody better? I don't think so.
"We'll wait and see. If the thing happens, we'll see the reaction, how we play. We're not going to change."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.