During the second half of the 2008 season, Manny Ramirez put up legendary numbers with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez hit .396 with 17 HR and 53 RBI in roughly two months with the Dodgers. Ramirez's torrid hitting propelled the Dodgers to a division title and a spot in the NLCS.
However, Ramirez's market has been slow to develop despite his phenomenal 2008 season. Ramirez and agent Scott Boras seemed confident that they would be able to turn Ramirez's amazing two months with the Dodgers into a huge contract (4 years/$100 mil).
However, Ramirez has failed to come close to the huge contract thus far.
The Dodgers has reportedly offered Ramirez a 2 year/$45 million extension in November that would make Ramirez one of the highest paid players in baseball. However, Ramirez and Boras held off on accepting that deal believing that they could still do better. The Dodgers need Manny in the heart of their lineup and as the soul of their team, so it would not be surprising to see GM Ned Colletti concede some demands to Boras and Manny.
And then we have the Yankees. Even though the Yanks have already spent more than $220 million on starting pitching, Ramirez would be a great fit hitting behind Alex Rodriguez and would give the Yankees a modern day murderer's row.
So will the Yankees make a strong push for Manny? Maybe. It was reported by a Spanish newspaper that the Yankees had offered Ramirez a 3 year/$75 million contract, but Yanks GM Brian Cashman quickly shot it down. Ramirez would be a great fit for the Yankees, but paying him $75 million at this point seems rather ridiculous given the market.
And how about the rest of the league? Who knows?
The Angels might have interest now that they have moved past the idea of re-signing Mark Teixeira. They need a a bonafide star and a big hitter in the middle of their lineup to protect Vladimir Guerrero. Ramirez would instantly make the Angels heavy favorites to win the AL West and legitimate contenders to win the World Series.
The Nationals might have interest in Ramirez if the fail to land Teixeira. The Nationals are desperate to show the rest of the league that they are serious about competing and spending $20+ mil on Ramirez would certainly send that message. Also, Manny would give the Nationals the legitimate superstar that they have not had since they moved to Washington. He would put fans in the stands and give people a reason to watch the lowly Nationals.
Once Teixeira signs, the market for Manny should begin to heat up. Manny might be a head case and a clubhouse cancer, but there is no doubt that Ramirez is one of the best hitters alive right now. The market has been surprisingly been slow to develop, but like other top free agents (Sabathia, Teixeira), Manny will get his money.