Friday, January 30, 2009

The Market for Manny Ramirez (Part II)

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.

25 comments:

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Thanks Josh!!!

Josh said...

Jason: No problem, keep up the great work.

Scott said...

No one saw the yankees picking up texiera either...
anyway big fan of your sports blog. Would you be interested in a link exchange? Check out my site... Http://scottstipoftheday.blogspot.com

Rage45 said...

dude its not about the money! are you kidding? what ball club wouldnt throw money at one of the greatest hitters of all time who is still on top of his game(and not involved in roids)???? It is ALL about his giving up on the Red Sox and NO organization is willing to throw good money at a player who has previously shown that he will give up on his team and not earn the money.

so yes, you could say that it is about the money, but its not about the amount, its about the return on the money that you possibly might not be getting due to commitment. I hope Manny is blacklisted like Bonds

Anonymous said...

Cancer lockerroom for sure. Manny kill his market with his last extravaganza in Boston. For me, it's the ultimate justice. If Manny sign for 2 years/40 millions, there's a lot of people in the Boston area who will laugh their ass off...

Jack Marshall said...

You really think that the fact that Manny quit on his team and employer in the middle of a pennant race has nothing to do with his lack of suitors? What he did in Boston violates every tradition and ethics in the game. Clubs don't trust Ramirez, and they shouldn't. He's unpredicatable, self-centered, and has the worldview of a child.
Unlike you, I did predict that Manny would hurt for bidders, and for this reason. When he took those three strikes from Rivera intentionally, he was a marked man. He'll get signed, but if the Dodger offer isn't going to make him happy, it's going to be ugly.

Josh said...

Scott: I'd be happy to swap links with you. The only difference between Tex and Manny is that the Yankees already have about five outfielders, not including MAtsui who will probably be relegated solely to DH duties this year.

Rage: This does have to do with the money because if Manny did not price him out of the market for some many teams or ask for a ridiculous contract, then odds are he would be signed by now. However, he is holding out hope that some team comes up with some crazy offer. I don't think that's gonna happen.

Anon: If Manny gets around 2 years/$45 million from a team, it would have to be viewed as a disappointment by both Manny and agent Scott Boras. They came into this off season expecting such a huge return on Manny's second half, but odds are he will not get it.

Jack: I think his antics in Boston did hurt Manny. I don't think Manny thought it would hurt him as much as it did. Even with his antics, I thought some team would jump at the opportunity to add such a productive hitter at a reasonable price, but none have because Manny's price has not been reasonable...

thanks so much for the comments guys.

Jack Marshall said...

Josh---we have to stop calling what Manny did at the end in Beantown "antics." Dogging it during games, tanking, letting pitches go by---those aren't antics. Those are the baseball equivilent of treason, what the Black Sox did to throw the Series. Manny did it for money too---he just wasn't bribed. And I think baseball people are more wary of Manny than when he was just taking whizzes during games or making dumb plays in the outfield.
Can anyone name a player who tried to play badly to get himself traded? Manny's spectacular performance in LA just pointed up how much he had held back in Boston.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday, I heard this "EXPERT [self appointed perhaps]" say "Manny WILL sign for one year with the Cardinals, it's gonna happen." The expert was this skinny white dude on ESPN.

Any comments?

Anonymous said...

The issue with Manny (and Boras) is that he has set the bar at 4 years and $100mil. Now everyone knows what Manny does when he isn't happy with his salary. In this market, no one is going to give him $25mil a year. Since they all know he'll tank if he's not getting his green, he's not even going to get an offer. Who's going to sign him for 2/$30mil knowing he'll be ticked off and give no effort??

Jim said...

Manny is one of the greatest hitters of all time and incredible in the clutch. There is not a team in MLB that wouldn't want him.

The economy is seriously tanking and teams know that revenue is probably going to go down this year.

Manny will be lucky to get a 2 yr. 45 M offer at this point.

He may be better off taking a 1yr. 20 M offer and enter the free agent market again next year. Ala A-Rod he would have to dump Boras to get the deal done.

Jack Marshall said...

Jim: May I remind you that in 2003, when Manny was better, younger, and saner, and had NOT completely quit on his team not once but TWICE (in 2006 and 2008), he was put on waivers by the Red Sox and could have been picked up for nothing by any team willing to pay his salary for 5 years. No team was. Not even the Yankees.

Saying "any team" would want him is pure fantasy. Most teams don't and never did. A great hitter who will throw is own team under the bus is not going to be regarded as a great asset. You're dreaming.

Josh said...

Jack: Great points. At what point does "Manny Being Manny" actually start to hurt the team's performance. I think more GMs have become wary of his act/actions.
thanks for the great comments.

Anon: If that happens, I will be VERY surprised. With that said, it would make a fantastic middle of the order with Pujols and Manny.

Anon: Any chance that a team will get more value out of Manny by giving him a one yr. deal? How about something like 1 year/$20 mil this way Manny is still very motivated at the thought of becoming a free agent in 2010...stupid or what?

Jim: Very interesting points. I would like to seem take a 1 yr deal (see above), but I doubt Boras would let Manny take that deal.

thanks so much for all the comments guys, I really appreciate it!

Jack Marshall said...

This is why I objected to "Manny Being Manny" from the get-go. What does it mean? If it means that a great hitter can get away with goofy stuff like going into the scoreboard, OK. But when it means "anything goes if you hit well enough", well, that's an invitation to chaos---and I think that's exactly what Manny thought it meant.
His high-five stunt tipped me off (and apparently no one else ) that he was going over the edge....a guy who was into having thimgs his own way ---read: whatever Manny felt like doing---even if it risked hurting the team. The "Manny being Manny" crap was a time bomb. And now whoever hires him is stuck with it.
Good luck to them, whoever they are. They'll be sorry when its over.

Josh said...

Jack: It's strange, even through the Red Sox hated some of Manny's antics, they were still able to win two titles with him. Has Manny gotten to the point now where he is that much of a detriment to a team?

Very debatable.

Jack Marshall said...

Josh: everybody uses this as the supposed argument stopper. It isn't. The Red Sox won those titles with David Ortiz, Tim Wakefiled, Mike Timlin and Jason Varitek, too. In 2007, Manny didn't hit 30 home runs or knock in 100 rbi. People like to justify his loafing as if he never hurt the team. Baloney.

I don't dispute Manny's value when he decided to play. But that's like someone telling George Washington that Benedict Arnold helped him win some big battles, which he did---gee, was the treason really so bad? Was George suppose to let bygones be bygones? Should the Revolutionary army have given him another chance because he was still a brilliant officer?

The Red Sox tried to give Manny away in 2003...because they didn't trust him. They tried to trade him in 2004...because they didn't trust him. In 2006, he refused to play the last month with no discernible injury. You can't urge other players to play hard if a star loafs. You can't build an intense team with one guy playing hard one day and tanking the next. Finally, he proved what they suspected all along: Manny was capable of just tanking in a pennant race, for purely selfish reasons, hurting his friends on the team, and saying "screw you" to the fans who had been cheering him. Do you really want to hire spomeone like that?

Who knows, if Manny played hard all the time, that the Red Sox wouldn't have won in 2003, or 2005, or last year? Do you want to build your offense around a major power who might just wake up some day of a crucial game and say, "who cares?"

This, as much as his outrageous demands, are why he hasn't signed.

And refusing to play hard isn't an "antic."

Anonymous said...

You geeks think manny threw the red soxs under the bus, well, the red soxs have been doing the same to it's players for years! That's why u soxs geeks will never win another WS, the only reason u won was cuz of manny !

Jack Marshall said...

I hereby nominate the last comment---by "Anonymous", yet, as the week's best example of why people have contempt for the internet. Wow. What a well crafted and logical argument....

Josh said...

Jack: This brings up a quick thought, if Manny did not put the Sox through all this crap, what kind of contract do you think he would be in line for right now? I'm guessing somewhere in the 3 years/$60 mil would not be unreasonable.
great points as always!

Anon: Manny played a large role in the Sox title in 2004, but by no means did the Sox will only because of Manny. He is a fantastic players, but the Sox won titles because of their clutch pitching, timely hitting (from Ortiz especially), and great defensive plays as well.

I know the Sox have gotten a bad rap for their treatment of players, but they did give Manny an 8 year/$160 million dollar contract, so it's very hard to say that Manny has been mistreated by the Sox.

thanks again for the comments everyone.

Jim said...

You can love Manny or hate him. The bottom line is that he is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He was a critical component two WS championships for a team that hadn't seen one in about 100 yrs. No way the Red Sox win without him.

For 8 yrs. in Cleveland they loved him and there was never any issue about his commitment to the team. He was liked and accepted in the clubhouse. Also in Cleveland, a team that prior to Manny was only to the WS 3 times in 75 yrs. He was a critical component to a team that lost 2 WS ('95 and '97).

If Cleveland still has Manny in '07, there is no way Boston wins the ALCS.

No doubt, I would take a player who tanks like that any time.

Josh said...

Jim: You make some great points there. To me, Manny is the kind of guy I would love to have on my team for a short period of time, but I would be hesitant giving him more than two or three years. Not just because he is 36, but because I would be fearful about Manny wearing out his welcome.

Nothing is more dangerous than a motivated and focused Manny.

thanks for the comment!

Jack Marshall said...

Yeah, Pete Rose and Mark McGwire were "shoo-ins" too.

If Manny pulls another intentional strike-out like he did against Mariano, I wouldn't bet on him being such an automatic. The Hall is about sportsmanship, and a player who tries to LOSE (and that's what Manny was doing in Boston) is a disgrace to the game.
It's no argument to recite Manny's accomplishments as if the rest wasn't part of the package. Would you buy a high-priced luxery car that was dream to dive but that just wouldn't start every few days? Would you hire a brilliant lawyer who occasionally just loses a case because he feels like it? That's Manny. A terrific hitter who can't be counted on to give his professional best.

A team might fool itself into believing he'll be different, or that he can be reformed (yeah, right), but if it can't be certain Manny will give his best every game, no matter what his mood, no team will pay him a big salary. His HOF credentials won't matter. You are deluding yourself if you believe otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Red soxs are a bunch of babies, you guys never lost a game, playoff series cuz of manny, now you guys want him to burn him cuz he didn't want to be part of that crappy organazation. Players ask for trades all the time, the soxs just didn't want to trade him cuz they knew they would be nothing without him, so they demonized him!

Jack Marshall said...

Uh-huh. Right. Goooood theory, well-argued,so well-supported, and elegantly articulated, too.

Say hi to the Wizard, the Tin Man and the Patch-Work Girl for me!

Josh said...

Anon: I don't think you can make the argument that Manny did not quit on the Red Sox in 2008...sure he played great when it counted, but he did have an awful tendency to play only when he wanted too...and how exactly did the Red Sox demonize Manny?

Jack: Even with his issues on the field, I still think Manny will be a first ballot hall of famer. This guy has put up fantastic numbers for too long not to be.

If Manny decides not to play hard for a full year or two, then I'll have to change my stance.

thanks for the comments guys.