Could we finally be witnessing the conclusion to the seemingly never ending Manny Ramirez saga? Probably...yes...I think so. Then again, you never know with Manny.
But with many teams opening up training camp tomorrow, the Manny market seems to have finally fizzled out. Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu have found homes on modest contracts, while Ken Griffey Jr seems destined to wind up back with the Seattle Mariners. The only big name left on the market is Manny Ramirez.
Amazing as it seems, we are finally down to two teams. Gone are the laundry list of teams rumored to have interest in Ramirez under the right conditions. The Manny market has finally settled with two (only one?) teams remaining in the battle:
Dodgers and Giants.
Yes, the two long time rivals could end up fighting with each other over Ramirez. Even if this scenario seems far fetched right now, I would not count anything out, especially with agent Scott Boras running the negotiations.
How should/could this play out? Let's have a look:
Dodgers: The Dodgers need Ramirez now more than ever. With Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu now off the market, the Dodgers need to have Ramirez back in the fold and happy. Without Ramirez, the Dodgers would go into panic mode and would have a difficult time competing, even in the weak NL West.
On the other hand, Manny still needs the Dodgers, badly. The Dodgers are his only opportunity to get a big contract and the money he craves. They have shown in their previous offers that they are willing to pay Manny more than $20 million big ones per season, but it remains to be seen if Manny will take less years to play in LA.
I still think the Dodgers and Ramirez will find a way to get this done because both sides NEED each other. The contract length and value is anyones guess, but I'll go out on a limb and say 2 years/$48 million.
Giants: Wouldn't it be great if the Giants found some way to sign Ramirez to stick it to their rivals? Could you imagine the excitement in San Francisco if Giants management pulled off the impossible and signed Manny? Not only would San Francisco go crazy, but it would send horrific shock waves through Los Angeles that would doom the Dodgers to a disappointing season in 2009.
From the baseball perspective, if the Giants sign Ramirez, then they would become contenders in the mediocre NL West. That should force management to take a hard look at Ramirez, but ultimately, the final decision will be based on finances.
Will Ramirez accept a deal that is "manageable" for the Giants? Probably not, but that remains to be seen.
I think the Giants still should make a run at Ramirez. If anything, they would provide some competition for the Dodgers and probably force the Dodgers to raise their offer. That could hurt the Dodgers in the long run, which should be appealing to Giants management.
And if by some long shot they are able to sign him...great. The baseball world, the city of San Francisco, and Giants fans would be elated. The worst thing the Giants could do is stay out of the Manny sweepstakes and let their arch rival swoop up one of the best hitters in the world without a fight.
And seriously, the Manny saga can't go on much longer can it? I don't know how many more "The Market for Manny Ramirez" columns I have in me...
The Market for Manny Ramirez (part 1)
The Market for Manny Ramirez (part 2)
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