More than a month ago, I wrote about the market for Manny Ramirez. I figured that it was only a matter of time until Manny got his money and that once the bigger names came off the board (Sabathia, Teixeira, Lowe), then Ramirez's situation would be the next one to be settled.
However, as January comes to a close, Ramirez remains a free agent. If you had told me back in December that Ramirez would still be a free agent this late in the off season, I would have said you're crazy. But hey, I guess that's how the market works sometimes.
It's amazing how quiet the market for Ramirez has been throughout the off season. At times, I found myself forgetting that Manny was actually a free agent simply because there was no buzz or rumors about his potential landing spot. How strange is that?
This off season has been brutal for Ramirez so far. Instead of having multiple teams throwing millions of dollars his way, Ramirez has only received one offer to date (from the Dodgers) and agent Scott Boras has been unable to drum up competition for Ramirez. Despite his fantastic two months with Dodgers, teams have shied away from Ramirez because of his age, inability to play defense, and his reputation as a clubhouse cancer.
But let's be honest, It is about the money, stupid (great blog by the way).
So what teams are still in play for Ramirez at this point? Better question, what teams can afford Ramirez's still exorbinant price tag (likely over $20 mil per season). Let's take a look:
Dodgers: Still the favorite. The Dodgers need Manny. Manny needs the Dodgers. On the surface, this should be the perfect match, but the Dodgers seem reluctant to increase their original offer (2 years/$45 mil) and Ramirez and Boras seem set on waiting for a better offer to come their way.
Giants: To me, they are the wild card in the Manny sweepstakes. The Giants, like the Dodgers, are one big bat away from seriously competing in the National League. Manny would be the ideal fit for the Giants and would instantly jump start their push into the post season. But like many teams, you have to wonder if the Giants have the money to spend on Ramirez at this point (thanks Barry Zito!).
Angels: Now we're talking. This is where I think Manny makes the most sense. He could DH/play some left for the Angels while providing great protection for Vladimir Guerrero. Manny would turn a decent lineup into a scary lineup just by his mere presence. The Angels need to get with the program and make a run at Manny while he is still on the board. Mark my words: Manny could lead the Angels to a title.
Cardinals: Albert Pujols wants Manny, but GM John Mozeliak quickly shot down the idea. Buzzkill!
Nationals: Manny would be a great fit here. The Nationals NEED some buzz. Gimme a reason to care, Jim Bowden!
But like so many other places, there are multiple issues. The Nationals have about ten outfielders (no joke) on their roster and seem content not spending any money this off season unless it's a ridiculous deal for the club.
Mets: Seemingly every blog or writer wants to find a way to link the Mets to Boras and Ramirez, but to date, the Mets have shown no interest in Ramirez. He would be a welcome fit in the middle of the Mets lineup and Jerry Manuel has publically stated that he'd welcome Ramirez, but right now the Mets need to focus on pitching. I would love to see Manny with the Mets, but the realist in me says this ain't happening.
And yes, Mets fans did hold a "Manny Rally." Gotta love Mets fans!
Yankees: After signing Teixeira and acquiring Swisher...fughedaboutit.
The market for Manny has been very slow to develop, but for the sake of the hot stove, I hope it heats up real soon. It's starting to get rather cold in here.