Ringolsby is mad at Manny’s rehab stint

Tracy Ringolsby is mad:

Manny Ramirez was handed a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy.

What a farce.

While Ramirez is not eligible to rejoin the Dodgers until July 3, baseball found a loophole. On Tuesday he will join the Dodgers’ Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate. He is allowed 10 games in the minor leagues to make sure he is ready to play the day the suspension ends . . . why should Ramirez be given the privilege of getting to play in minor league games before he has served his full suspension?

I noted the fact of his rehab stint last week, and our friend Jack Marshall made Ringolsby’s argument, albeit a bit more lucidly than did Ringolsby. My response, which Ringolsby acknowledges and then dismisses, was that the rehab assignment, while perhaps undermining the purpose of a 50-game suspension to some degree, is really to the benefit of the Dodgers inasmuch as a player coming straight into action without having worked himself into game shape could pose an injury risk. Maybe we don’t care for Manny’s sake, but if he got hurt on July 3rd in Los Angeles, that would harm the Dodgers — including Manny’s teammates — and contrary to what Ringolsby says, I’d argue that the Dodgers aren’t deserving of losing their best player any more than they already have.

Ringolsby’s response: “[t]eams should be held accountable for the transgressions of their players. If teams suffer enough they might be more vigilant in dealing with potential violations” would be more palatable if I honestly believed that he or anyone else for that matter believed that the teams should be held accountable for players’ PED violations. The Dodgers got out of paying $7 million to Ramirez. Does Ringolsby believe that they should have been fined that amount instead, and maybe even more on top of it for punitive reasons? Does he believe that the Dodgers should forfeit Manny-powered games? I’m guessing the answer is no, which renders his “the teams are accountable too” stuff mere claptrap.

I’d be upset if I found out that Manny is being paid his Major League salary for the rehab games, but I’m guessing that he’s not. Against that backdrop, I have no problem with him being allowed to get back into game shape in advance of his Major League activation. Not for his sake, but for James Loney’s and Matt Kemp’s and Joe Torre’s sake.

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Comments

  1. kendynamo said...

    i heard joe morgan kvetching about this in his typical joe morgan style during som eespn broadcast a while ago.  to the shock of all shocks, it was steve phillips providing the voice of reason by saying tiple A isnt the MLB and that all this is settled by the CBA.

    this is a big non issue for me but then i basically feel just about anything BBWAA people moan about is always no BFD in my opinion.

  2. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Not to mention playing “You make me feel like a natural woman” as the walkup music…

  3. Jon said...

    Simply, the rehab should start on July 3, the day his suspension is over. Sure, let him get into shape, but after fulfilling the 50 game suspension. Baseball never gets it right

  4. Jim Casey said...

    Jon is right. Is he suspended or isn’t he? The suspension should cover playing anywhere affiliated with MLB. If he wants to play before July 3, he should take his chances in an independent league.

  5. Drew said...

    He’s missing 50 games for the Dodgers.  I fail to see how there’s a problem.  If you want him to miss 60 games for the Dodgers, make it a 60 game suspension.  If you want to call this a 40 game suspension instead, knock yourself out, but the fact is, he’s missing 50 games for the Dodgers.

    Also, I’d imagine his MLB contract eliminates his possibility of playing in an independent league, though I’ve never actually read one of those.

  6. Craig Calcaterra said...

    It’s my understanding that the terms of the CBA and the PED policy specify 50 major league games. MLB games are not major league games.  I fail to see the problem.

  7. Jack Marshall said...

    Having raised the issue a while back, I am now persuaded that Craig’s analysis is right.

    The Dodgers have been hurt enough by the suspension (if they regarded the 7 million savings a net benefit, then they obviously made a bad contract. They did, but they don’t know it…). Without the rehab, Manny is in effect suspended for more games than 50, because he would have to get back in shape; with the rehab, he does seem to be a little less suspended (MLB admonished the Dodgers that he couldn’t visit the clubhouse during the suspension, but the Dodger minor league playing fields are somehow a more appropriate venue for him), but a little less suspended seems more fair than the alternative. I would like to know if he is being paid, and on what scale. It’s hard for me to imagine Manny doing anything for free.

    And could he possibly be the first suspended player to do this? Or are people just especially pissed off at him? I’m pretty sure that’s what caused this logistically flawed complaint to enter MY head.

  8. Andy H. said...

    Of course whatever the policy says is controlling.  But my opinion is that the rule ought to be that if he’s suspended, he can’t play for the Dodgers or for their affiliates.  Otherwise, why not send him to AAA for the entire time?  Let him rack up some cash for Las Vegas or whereever.

  9. brian said...

    It’s no different than when a player on the disabled list plays rehab games before he’s eligible to come off the DL.

  10. Nate said...

    Andy H. makes an interesting point. Why hasn’t he been playing 5-6 games a week in Las Vegas during the entire suspension? Or did Manny just want some very expensive vacation days?

  11. Victor said...

    Just or not (and if the suspension terms specify Major League games, where’s the problem?) I certainly enjoy the prospect of seeing Manny play in my own hometown. Here in, ahem, Albuquerque, where the Dodgers AAA team returned this year.

    Now if they’d only give us the old Dukes name back…

  12. Craig Calcaterra said...

    My understanding is that the agreement on discipline, etc. only permits rehab starts as otherwise defined in the CBA, and I think that’s limited to a short period of time prior to the end of the suspension and/or DL stint or what have you.

  13. Andy H. said...

    Victor – sorry.  I can’t keep track of the AAA affiliations.  The IL has gotten really mixed up the last two years.

    Jack – If the goal is to reduce PED use, then I’m OK with the Dodgers suffering a little more as well.  The teams turned a blind-eye to PED use along with everyone else.  So if the knowledge that they’ll be paying a player for a 10-day rehab after a suspension causes them to be more diligent in keeping their players clean, that’s good. 

    I don’t know whether a team is allowed to write additional PED provisions in their contracts.  If so, teams in the future could provide for the rehab time in some way.

  14. George said...

    Jack- Manny is not the first person to rehab in the minors before a PED suspension expired.  I know that JC Romero pitched a few games in the minors.

  15. Jason B said...

    re: Joe Morgan’s inane analysis (inanalysis?)

    Was this before or after the suggestion that after ManRam comes back, that Ethier be benched in favor of finding Juan Pierre more playing time?  It was at that point that I fell off the elliptical and blacked out.

  16. Slugger O'Toole said...

    Craig is right, the CBA does not allow him to play endlessly in the minors while suspended, nor would that make any sense, as he would only be risking injury to do so. I am fine with his rehab assignment, while it does lessen the total time out of baseball, it ensures that the paying FANS (who really should matter most here) aren’t going to see a player come up completely out of shape to play. The punishment for a major league player is time out of the majors and loss of pay (I do not think he entitled to pay for such games, though I don’t know for sure). No major league player wants to play in AAA unless they must.

  17. Tripon said...

    Its specified in the CBA that the rehab portion is 10 games in the minor leagues for players suspended.
    And where was this outrage against Manny when J.C. Romero was pitching in Triple-A games and was ready to pitch for the Phillies when he was activated as soon as his suspension was lifted?

  18. brian said...

    Jason B, you wouldn’t believe some of the media and fans in LA, saying much of the same. Not so much bench Ethier, but that Pierre shouldn’t lose playing time once Manny returns. Six months ago fans were lamenting his contract, calling him the most expensive fourth outfielder in baseball. Now he’s too good to lose playing time? Nonsense I tell you.

  19. brian said...

    The rest of Pierre’s contract: 2009: $10M, 2010: $10M, 2011 :$8.5M with limited no-trade. That’s already tough to move. But most teams also understand his first 1,307 games are more telling of Pierre’s skill set than his last 43 games.

  20. Dave said...

    The reason there was no outrage when J.C. Romero was reactivated is that many baseball fans (and almost all casual baseball fans) have no idea who Romero is.  Manny’s the biggest name to get caught using PEDs, so this is basically the first time most people are thinking about the issue.

    Also, regarding Craig’s comment regarding holding teams responsible for their players’ PED violations, I think it is reprehensible that the Dodgers got to keep the money they would have paid Manny.  Forfeiting games played by dirty players is totally impractical, but creating a monetary penalty to teams with players isn’t a bad idea.

  21. Tripon said...

    For anyone who thinks its wrong for Juan Pierre to be benched, please send an e-mail, or written letter to your favorite team, call your local sports talk radio and advocate trading for him.

    When Manny comes back, Juan Pierre will become the 4th outfielder. Because he is the best 4th outfielder on the team based on talent, ability, and skill.

  22. Chipmaker said...

    Geez, just more carping about PEDs, the story that the entire BBWAA missed in real time, the free-for-the-taking Pulitzer that never was.

    Ringolsby & Co., and there’s many of them like him, will never be satisfied that the fishhook is big enough, or that it has been applied to the correct orifice. They think everyone gets off the hook.

    Organizational fail… but the BBWAA members have no accountability, except that due to paper after paper falling by the wayside.

  23. Jack Marshall said...

    Well, I guess this debate is settled, since Rob Neyer has issued a decree that we’re all morons:

    “My old pal Tracy Ringolsby is fantastically right: Allowing suspended major leaguers to play in the minors is a farce, plain and simple. Does Tracy even need to explain why?”

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