Friday, December 12, 2008

Those option years don't look so bad now, do they?

Evidently Manny Ramirez isn't getting a whole lot of love in the free-agency market.

His reaction is to threaten retirement if he doesn't get the deal he wants.

So far the only contract offer the 36-year old Ramirez has received is the two-year $45 million contract that the Dodgers have since pulled off the table.

I said before that Ramirez and his agent Scott Boras were working under some delusional assumptions, one of which being that someone was going to throw a ton of cash at a 36 year old slugger in a long term deal, but that's only one part of his problem. Ramirez dug his own hole, and here's how...

Ramirez, a supremely gifted hitter, helped the Red Sox and Dodgers to, and in the case of the Sox, through the post season, and could, possibly, have four good seasons left in him. However, he has a history of playing only when he wants it - and his time with the Dodgers is a perfect example of that.

After obviously giving up on the Red Sox (including an obvious attempt at interfering with a fellow fielder by rolling over and sitting on the baseball in one game), Ramirez, knowing that his option years were voided in the trade with the Dodgers, very obviously turned the switch back on and was playing for a contract. Yes, Ramirez has the talent to help a team...almost any team, but GM's everywhere are going to wonder everyday which Ramirez they're going to get - the guy that plays hard? Or the prima donna that's going to lay down like railroad tracks just because he doesn't feel like playing that day?

This is not a guy who toughs it out, he's not a guy who plays through injury, and, by all accounts, is not a team guy. No, he's not the Barry Bonds who destroys club house chemistry, but he's also not the guy the goes out and has a beer with his teammates - unless he's playing for a contract.

Another issue for Ramirez was his complaint about the lack of privacy playing in Boston. Well, the only other team that can lay out the money over four to five years the way the Sox can is in the Bronx - and there's no more privacy there. Not so curiously, Brian Cashman has stayed away from Ramirez thus far. Now, I'm not saying it can't or won't happen - as a matter of fact, I think that the Yankees will go after him if the Sox sign Texiera, but I still don't think Boras is going to land his client the contract he kept telling Ramirez he could get if only he didn't have those option years.

The bottom line - either Ramirez makes good on his promise to retire because he's not getting the contract he wanted (and he won't), or he sucks it up to take a shorter contract (which assures a GM he will play hard for the next contract) with less money than he wanted. I think the latter happens, because no GM is going to invest $100 million over four years in someone he's worried is going to quit on him. In today's economic climate, those people that can still pay to go to games will run that GM out of town for paying a guy like that if he's not earning his money.

Can't say I feel for ya, Manny.

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