Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Manny Ramirez

The Manny Ramirez situation is very interesting. I think there are several things at play here which are worth a comment:

- The one-year $25 million offer is very smart from the Dodgers point of view. The Dodgers do need offense but they can't afford to spend that sort of money on a player who could take a month off mid-season to balky knees or a troubled hammy. By making it a one-year deal the Dodgers make sure they get Manny's full attention. He needs to play to get paid in 2010. What better way to make sure Manny focus' on the 2009 season?

- The "screw you Scott Boras" aspect of this is good PR for the club. Nobody likes Boras - nobody. Making the $25 million offer public is in effect calling Boras' bluff. Now everybody knows what the Dodgers are willing to do. If another team is willing to go to two or three years for Manny - fine. The Dodgers have both shown their fans that they were willing to pay top dollar for Manny but at the same time they stood up the the man many blame for ruining the game.

- It has to be asked if the money the Dodgers are willing to pay to Manny would be better used elsewhere. They could literally sign Adam Dunn and Ben Sheets for the same money they would pay Manny (maybe even a lot less than what Manny would cost). Dunn would give them the HR bat they need and Sheets could help fill the role of the departed Derek Lowe. The problem is for the Dodgers that they can't go and sign a Ben Sheets and then have Manny accept his $25 million offer. There's obviously a limit to the Dodgers' budget.

- An aspect that is not talked about but what may be the most important consideration for many teams is the draft picks involved. The Dodgers have compensation picks coming for losing Derek Lowe to the Braves and if they lost Manny to another team - they would have more picks coming. That would allow them to sign an Adam Dunn and a Ben Sheets without impacting their farm system too much. Maybe that's another reason they have made their bids to Manny Ramirez so public - so other teams would know where they stand and thus know what the costs would be without Boras hyping it any further.

EDIT: As an aside - look for a team like the Nationals to offer Manny a two-year deal for like $50 million if the Dodgers one-year deal looks like the only offer. The Nationals draft pick is protected (because it's first overall) and the Nationals could use Manny to sell tickets early in the year and then turn around and trade him to a contender for prospects near the trading deadline.

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