There are paragraphs that make sense in February. There are paragraphs that don't. Here is one that doesn't, from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle:
I’m hearing that the A’s are continuing to pursue Manny Ramirez, and that they’re much more interested in Ramirez than Magglio Ordonez at this point; Ordonez’s health is more of a concern.
The A's and Manny Ramirez. More ridiculous than the A's and Magglio Ordonez, or more sensible? I go back and forth. The A's signing Manny is crazy like emptying a bottle of ketchup down your pants and dancing on a table during a first date. There's a one-percent chance that the date has a weird sense of humor, I guess. Might work out. The A's signing Magglio is more like eating unwrapped packets of Splenda when the date's head is turned. It's a deeper, darker kind of crazy.
To recap: The A's are rebuilding. Oh, it's not a pure rebuild. It's not like they've razed the earth like the Astros have, bringing up whatever they could find in AA in a search for warm bodies. The A's signed Bartolo Colon and Coco Crisp, legitimate big-league players who will allow the A's to avoid forcing someone into the majors who isn't ready.
It's also not a horrible collection of talent that the A's have going -- every player in their projected lineup deserves to be in the majors, which isn't a small feat for a rebuilding club. Of course, every hitter on the roster is expected to be below average, so a little more offense might not be a bad thing.
But if they're going to spend money on Magglio or Manny, that means that they're counting on one of three things:
1. Fan Interest
As in, the signing of one of these two will generate ticket sales and goodwill, possibly allowing the team to turn the 2013 FanFest into a FansFest, even if Jake was excited that he didn't have to wait in line for the bathroom this year. This is a hard thing to quantify, but while you could make an argument that Manny could do it over his 112 games, I'm pretty sure no one in Oakland cares about Ordonez at this point, other than to throw things at him for the 2006 ALCS.
2. Trade Deadline Flippin'
This is where the A's use the player for a couple of months before exchanging him for shiny prospects. But that's a risky proposition with a DH, as only a select few teams will be able to use Manny or Magglio at the deadline. And even then, would either of them do so well that a team would give a prospect back that was more valuable than the money the A's paid for the three months? Probably not.
In this scenario, the A's are battling with the Rangers and Angels, and the key addition of Magglio or Manny has provided a surprising jolt to the middle of the lineup. Also providing a surprising jolt in this scenario: the time that Billy Beane thinks he saved Mary Jane after the Green Goblin dropped her, only to find out that she died from shock during the fall. Because as long as we're making crap up, why not pretend that Billy Beane is Spider-Man?
Based on any of those three things, I'm not sure why the A's would want to mess around with either of the aging sluggers. While I mentioned the cost of their respective salaries up there, that's not really the important part. The important part is the opportunity cost that the A's would give up. They should have the following players at their disposal:
Signing Magglio or Manny means that the A's will figure out if one of those players can hit enough to stick as a first baseman. The others? To the bench or to Sacramento, where another year will pass without the A's having a good idea who can or can't hit major-league pitching. In the meantime, the A's will mess around with the remains of a guy who used to be a top slugger, and they'll do it in true underwear-gnome fashion.
Maybe they'll squeeze an extra win out of it. Not sure what good that would do anyone. For some teams, a flyer like this can make sense, but for the A's, this is more Brad Pitt from True Romance than Brad Pitt from Moneyball.