It was only a few months ago that Manny Ramirez came to Los Angeles, took the Dodgers, placed them firmly on his back, and carried them to the playoffs. MannyMania struck Southern California, as Ramirez hit a ridiculous .396 and drove in 53 runs in 53 games as a Dodger before the Phillies knocked them out of the NLCS. Though I’m sure Manny was disappointed that the Dodgers didn’t win it all, he took solace in the fact that he would get another $100 million contract from some sucker in the offseason.
Well, while there may still be a sucker born every minute, it seems those suckers have developed a tighter grip on their wallets these days. When the Dodgers offered him a two-year deal for $45 million after the season Manny and his agent Scott Boras basically laughed it off, thinking that a larger deal lay ahead for him. As for the Dodgers end, the offer was seen as nothing more than an attempt to quell the fan base with a “Hey, we tried to keep him.” Now it’s starting to look more and more like Manny is going to wind up back in L.A., and he may have to end up accepting the Dodgers arbitration offer.
From BUSTER OLNEY’S BLOG:
The Dodgers now are perfectly positioned. They have twice dangled Ramirez opportunities for record-setting contracts — the first being the $45 million offer, which would have established a new standard for outfielders, and the second being the arbitration. If Ramirez accepts the arbitration, the Dodgers would have only a one-year obligation on the aging slugger, and while none of the Dodgers staffers would ever say it out loud, keeping Ramirez on a one-year deal, with the carrot of free agency in front of him, might be the best way to keep him running hard.
So now Ramirez faces a difficult decision. Does he accept the Dodgers arbitration offer — he would likely end up getting a one-year deal worth anywhere from $26-$30 million — or does he decide to test the open market? Odds are nobody else is going to offer Manny anything near $30 million a year, let alone for the six years he’s hoping for, so if it’s truly about the money he’d be an idiot not to.
The question is whether or not the pride of both Ramirez and Boras will allow him to accept the offer. To do so would admit defeat, and that’s not something either of the two are used to doing.
For the Dodgers it’s completely a win/win situation: They either get Ramirez for one more year in which he’ll be in another contract drive, or he’ll go somewhere else and they’ll get a couple draft picks in return for him. Not a bad deal when you consider that they haven’t spent a single penny on him.