Chalk it up to Manny being Manny, right? Or maybe it's just Boras being Boras.
But last night, Manny Ramirez rejected the Dodgers latest offer, which was their fourth proposal so far (counting arbitration). The Dodgers reportedly offered Manny a 2 year/$45 million dollar contract, which is nearly identical to the deal the Dodgers offered Ramirez a few months ago. However, the difference this time was that only the first year was guaranteed, which would give Ramirez the ability to opt out in 2010 if the market rebounded.
This deal in theory would have given Manny an opportunity to become the 2nd highest paid player in baseball this season and possibly get another huge contract next season. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, wrong. Because when it came down to it, Boras and Manny decided not to accept the Dodgers offer. How could they do this?
The answer is simple. Right now, the Dodgers need Manny more than Manny needs the Dodgers. It's that simple. The Dodgers have played it cool so far, patiently waiting for Boras and Manny to get their act together, but with March rapidly approaching, the Dodgers need to have Ramirez in the fold. Without Manny, the Dodgers are toast.
All along the concept remained the same: the Dodgers need Manny and Manny needs the Dodgers...what's taking so long? But now we know why: Boras is convinced that the Dodgers, now out of viable options, will cave into Ramirez's demands...or else. Would it be out the question to see Ramirez hold out until April? He's held out this far...why not another month!
Boras is in complete control of these negotiations. The Dodgers cannot simply say, "we're done with Manny Ramirez" right now. Their fan base will not have it. The Dodgers need to stay in the Ramirez sweepstakes and come away with Ramirez....or else. Boras knows this and is trying to exploit the Dodgers for every last penny they have until Ramirez gets the contract he wants.
Boras is trying to build a market for Manny even where is no market. Boras is hoping that a team like the Giants suddenly gets motivated to get in on the Manny sweepstakes, especially seeing how long and drawn out these negotiations have become. Or Boras is hoping that the Dodgers will big against nobody and ultimately give into Ramirez's demands. Holding out is putting more and more power into Boras's hands.
In the end, I still think these two sides will come together. Manny does not have any other serious suitors out there, and for that, he needs the Dodgers. But by playing it cool, Boras is taking a risk that the best offer has not been thrown out there yet by the Dodgers. It's quite a risk, considering how generous the Dodgers' offers have been thus far and how bad the economy is.
My question is this: does anyone actually think Manny will be able to get a better contract than this? Will the Dodgers have to commit three years to get Manny to sign on the dotted line?
And when will this saga finally end? Somehow I can't help but think that the Manny Marathon is nowhere close to completion. Oy.
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