Manny and the Dodgers

I’ve generally been praising the Dodgers for not bidding against themselves in the Manny Ramirez derby, but as Ken Davidoff notes, they’re pretty much out of maneuvering room:

This has not quite been Scott Boras’ finest week, but give the man credit. He can run a free agency like no other agent out there.

Remember when the Dodgers were going to reallocate their Manny resources by spending it on other top free agents? Well, suddenly, there are pretty much no other top free agents left. Bobby Abreu is an Angel, Adam Dunn is a National and Ben Sheets is a no-go. Orlando Hudson? Nice, but more of a complementary player.

The Dodgers have lost Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Brad Penny and Takashi Saito from the club that qualified for the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1988. They have imported Randy Wolf, a decent, back-end-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. They need Manny, for baseball reasons and for attendance/fan good will reasons. How quickly can they get it done? And will the Giants put up a bona fide threat?

On my live chat Tuesday, I told Dennis that Manny would re-sign with the Dodgers on Feb. 27. Let’s stick with that. And let’s say it’s a two-year, $48-million deal with a vesting option for a third year and another $25 million.

On one level such a deal could be spun as a fair one in that it would allow the Dodgers to say that they didn’t go back up in terms of annual salary and allows Manny to say that he improved on both his Red Sox options and the quality of the overall offers he’s been getting from L.A. But make no mistake: such a deal would be a win for Manny and an admission by L.A. that they maybe waited a bit too long.
As for the timing? I think it’s done before February 27th. In fact, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t done by next weekend.

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  1. pete said...

    I really hope he ends up with the Giants for 3 years so that everyone has to admit Manny and Boras won big.

    Beyond that, though, stick him in the lineup (and keep him away from the Dodgers) and that team is suddenly the prohibitive favorites in the West.

  2. kranky kritter said...

    The “there are no other top free agents left” form of reasoning definitely applies to the Dogers. Just as “there are no other teams with need and money left” applies to Manny. I continue to hope that the Dodgers tell Manny to get lost. That would be a delight. But they don’t have the sack.

    I agree with your estimate though. I said a while back that I expect Manny to get 2 years at between 20 and 25 million. But if I were LA, I’d avoid any kind of option like the one that work out so toxic for the Red Sox. I could see it vesting on auto if Manny played at least 120 games with at least 25 hr and 90 rbis. You gotta make the option kick in only if Manny produces.

    I keep waiting for some smart team to offer a guy like Manny a deal that delivers a year-end bonus in return for completely keeping their mouth shut.

  3. bablue said...

    ” I continue to hope that the Dodgers tell Manny to get lost. That would be a delight. But they don’t have the sack. “

    It has nothing to do with having a sack and everything to do with wanting to win.

    And you can’t have options/incentives based on anything other than playing time (games and plate appearances).

  4. kranky kritter said...

    If you want to win at any cost, you better be ready to take it up the pipe. If you have nerve you’re willing to draw the line. Pretty simple principle.

    It wouldn’t be the end of the world for LA to wait and see how good a team they had, and then make a midseason move. After all, they did it last year, and it worked. Of course, LA fans are so dumb that they thought Manny was swell. And ownership has to account for their customers being right even if they are morons.

    But given that Adam Dunn got $20 million, it’ is sort of hard to argue Manny is not worth 25 mil despite being a cementhead. Depends on how much you want character to count. In the final analysis I can’t take seriously anyone who says that Manny’s act wasn’t worth it for the Red Sox, warts and all.

    I don’t know much about the rules for options, but I know that contracts can have incentives for things besides PT, like for winning awards, making the all-star team, etc. But I’ll take your word for it that direct production clauses are proscribed unless someone shows otherwise.

  5. coach said...

    Manny is not worth any amount of money.  The last thing we need is him infecting the clubhouse and the youngsters [Kemp, Loney, Bills, Broxton, etc] with the ‘me-first’, ‘I’m not going to run out a flyball until I want to’ attitude.  When Manny self-implodes because something [management, fans, traveling secretary, contract, writers] is not to his liking, you can write off the investment in him.  If he does the Boston routine, he will be untradable and unreleasable like Jones last year.

  6. Trigger Treat said...

    Has anyone considered the Dodgers signing Orlando Hudson and moving Casey Blake to left? That would keep Blake DeWitt at third and improve the infield defense. I know Hudson’s power production can’t compare to Manny, but they could save some money now and add a bat later when teams start unloading salaries.

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