Stan 'The Fan' Charles' MLB Power Rankings: May 26, 2014Posted on May 26, 2014 by Stan 'The Fan' Charles
When Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was the general manager of the Boston Red Sox, there came a time in 2008 when he and almost everyone else associated with the Red Sox couldn't wait to rid themselves of the almost hernia-like headache outfielder Manny Ramirez had become.
"That's just Manny being Manny" had become an almost apologetic mantra that those in Red Sox nation would recite to explain away yet another episode of Ramirez's increasingly loutish behavior.
Epstein found a willing taker in the Dodgers, and was able to acquire a young, then solidly productive outfielder -- Jason Bay -- from the Pirates. The Pirates got back two minor league players each from Boston and Los Angeles. The only player in the deal for Pittsburgh who turned out to be worthwhile was a guy named Brandon Moss, whom the Pirates later dealt to the Oakland A's.
But I digress. The point of the story is that at the time, the notion that some six years later, Epstein would sign Ramirez to a contract to do anything for a team he was in charge of would be akin to expecting Nancy Kerrigan to invite Tonya Harding over for dinner.
Well, the Cubs have signed Ramirez to a minor league player-coaching gig with their Triple-A Farm club in Des Moines, Iowa. Epstein said Ramirez would play only in a limited capacity, and that he would not take at bats away from younger prospects.
Although Epstein suggested that if Ramirez showed he still had some magic in his bat, he could make it back with some other major league team, it was made clear that the Cubs were bringing in Ramirez at this point during his career to mentor some of the organization's young hitters.
One key prospect for the Cubs is shortstop Javier Baez. Drafted during the first round (No. 9 overall pick) in 2011, Baez combined to hit 37 home runs and 111 RBIs in 2013 at Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. But for Des Moines this year, Baez has just seven home runs, 22 RBIs and a .211 batting average.
It says here this is a nice story, and perhaps Ramirez can morph into a batting coach, but this is really all about him trying to impart some of his knowledge about the art of hitting into the young and impressionable Baez.
With the Red Sox having lost 10 games in a row, the streak has us all looking to see the last time a world champion baseball team, during the year after winning the World Series, had lost 10 games in a row.
Well, the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins) actually turned the trick twice in 1998. There was one big difference -- that was one of the Marlins' incarnations that was quickly broken up to get rid of high-priced players for younger and more controllable commodities.
The Red Sox's current streak of 10 losses in a row is the longest for the team since the 1994 club lost 11 in a row under Butch Hobson's tenure as skipper.
To put it in some real historical perspective, the only two teams that have lost 10 games in a row during a season and still made the playoffs were the 1951 Giants and the 1982 Atlanta Braves.
1. San Francisco Giants (32-18 overall record, No. 3 ranking last week)
2. Oakland Athletics (30-20, No. 2)
3. Atlanta Braves (28-21, No. 6)
4. Detroit Tigers (28-18, No. 1)
5. St. Louis Cardinals (28-22, No. 8)
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (27-24, No. 5)
7. Milwaukee Brewers (30-21, No. 4)
8. Toronto Blue Jays (29-22, No. 13)
9. Los Angeles Angels (28-21, No. 12)
10. New York Yankees (26-23, No. 7)
11. Colorado Rockies (27-23, No. 9)
12. Washington Nationals (25-25, No. 10)
13. Baltimore Orioles (25-23, No. 11)
14. Kansas City Royals (24-25, No. 15)
15. Seattle Mariners (24-25, No. 16)
16. Texas Rangers (25-25, No. 17)
17. Miami Marlins (26-25, No. 18)
18. Tampa Bay Rays (23-28, No. 20)
19. Pittsburgh Pirates (22-27, No. 23)
20. Minnesota Twins (23-24, No. 19)
21. Boston Red Sox (20-29, No. 14)
22. Cincinnati Reds (22-26, No. 21)
23. Cleveland Indians (24-27, No. 25)
24. Chicago White Sox (25-27, No. 26)
25. New York Mets (22-27, No. 22)
26. Philadelphia Phillies (21-26, No. 29)
27. Chicago Cubs (18-30, No. 30)
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (20-32, No. 27)
29. San Diego Padres (23-28, No. 24)
30. Houston Astros (19-32, No. 28)
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"Not one guy in this clubhouse was expecting it to be easy from start to finish," Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg told reporters in Pittsburgh.