Are the Giants pursing Manny Ramirez?

Rumor has it that the San Francisco Giants are quietly making a play for free agent Manny Ramirez.

Manny RamirezAcquiring Ramirez would come with a number of headaches — from simply having the mercurial slugger on their roster to likely having to trade one of their incumbent outfielders (Randy Winn, Aaron Rowand, Dave Roberts). But all in all, he’d probably be worth it for a team that isn’t all that far from seriously contending. They play in a soft division where 85 wins could easily equal a playoff berth.

That’s especially true when you consider three factors: (1) the market for Ramirez is severely depressed because of the number of all-hit, no-field corner bats on the market, (2) signing him would simultaneously improve the Giants’ offense and weaken the rival Dodgers and (3) it would save GM Brian Sabean from having to engineer a complex trade for a bat that would cost him one of his top young pitchers like Jonathan Sanchez.

I tossed the idea of the Giants being potential sleepers in the Manny Ramirez sweepstakes in early December and as long as they don’t go ridiculous with the length of the contract, I think it would be a great move for club in desperate need of a bat.

As the article suggests, the Giants aren’t that far away from competing because they have such a solid pitching staff, headed by NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. But their lineup is comprised of roll players and lacks major pop. Adding Manny would instantly make Bengie Molina, Randy Winn (if Manny doesn’t push him out) and Aaron Rowand better, and if younger players Pablo Sandoval, Fred Lewis (if Manny doesn’t push him out) and Travis Ishikawa can continue to develop, the lineup would certainly be good enough to win the NL West.

It’ll be interesting to see if the G-Men can steal the Dodgers’ most coveted free agent.

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