A Manny formality, but . . .

In return to the Majors, Kennedy falters
Mike Mussina and the Sense of Humor of Doom

Manny Ramirez is the gift that keeps on giving. Today’s Manny-related headline comes to us from the Los Angeles Times: Bud Selig questions Dodgers’ Manny Ramirez trade.

The headline itself is a bit misleading; Selig isn’t concerned with the Dodgers’ acquisition of the future Hall of Famer but rather with the way Manny finagled his way out of Boston. Bud doesn’t like it and plans to send his minions to make some noises before declaring the whole thing a non-issue.

To this, I say: Of course, Selig doesn’t like it. Any self-respecting fan of baseball shouldn’t like it. With an assist from Scott Boras, his agent, who knows what Manny can get on the open market, Manny Ramirez put on a show to get the Red Sox to trade him. He took a few calculated risks, sat out a few key games, said just the right things to the ever-rabid Boston press. Voilà, Manny Ramirez has his options declined and gets himself a one-way ticket to Chavez Ravine.

Now in LA, Manny is hitting .464 with four home runs this month, and the Red Sox aren’t happy. But this is what baseball has become, and while A-Rod‘s opt-out shenanigans in October highlighted the baser business side of the game, Manny’s in-season antics drove home the idea with an exclamation point.

When players know they can get more money than their contracts allow and teams are willing to give their top players any sort of leverage with an option, those players and their shrewd agents will do anything they can to get out of seemingly bad deals even when those deals are for more money than you or I will see in our lifetimes. Bud Selig can cry foul; the Red Sox can cry foul. But Selig loves touting the economic health of baseball, and the Red Sox are among the richest, most successful teams in the game these days. They can’t have it both ways, and we the fans just get to watch a shouting match between the rich and the richer. How pleasant.

In return to the Majors, Kennedy falters
Mike Mussina and the Sense of Humor of Doom
  • A.D.

    I mean this was really an old school move by Manny, the type of things you hear happening “back in the day” for players when they were pissed with management

    As a Yankee’s fan I’m never going to feel sorry for the plight of the Sox, but in reality if the Sox wanted a happy, producing Manny, they should have just picked up the option, or officially declined it once this became an issue. No its not right, their hand shouldn’t have to be shown mid season on a team option, but the Sox were aware of Manny’s baggage when they signed him, its part of the package.

    What does Bud Selig actually think he’s going to accomplish?

  • Steve

    “Scott Boras, his agent, who knows what Manny can get on the open market”

    “Knows”? Really? Like he knew what A-Rod could get from the Angels?

    When will we all figure out that Boras is blowing smoke about 99% of the time when he talking?

    He may get more than what was left on his Boston deal, but the 100mil stuff getting thrown around by Boras is a fantasy.

    • Steve H

      So was JD Drew getting an increase in his 3 yrs/33 mil when he opted out of his Dodgers contract, then got 5/70 from the Sox, when no other teams were anywhere near that. I’m sure Boras has already had conversations, and has some ideas where Manny is going. Remember, the Dodgers almost went after the Sox for tampering, then they realized they were better off without Nancy Drew.

      • Steve

        Fine, you give me JD Drew, I’ll give you Matsuzaka. Who signed for less than his posting fee when Boras was telling everyone he would get 100 mil for his player. He got half.

        We can do this all day. Boras is still full of shit.

        • Steve H

          Yeah, completely different scenario. If Dice-K were a free agent, he would have gotten $100 mil. There was no leverage there, he could only negotiate with one team, not 32.

          • Steve

            Was Boras blowing smoke or not when he said he would get 100 mil for Dice-K? He got half, so the answer is ‘yes’.

            Are you arguing that Boras didn’t know or understand the terms of the negotiations?

            • Steve H

              All agents blow smoke, that’s their job. I brought up JD Drew, you bring up Dice-K as your example, the one time that he couldn’t drive up the price by negotiating with up to 32 teams. Boras is, hands down, the best agent in baseball, and you can’t deny that. There are a lot more examples like Drew than Dice-K when it comes to Boras. An agent that doesn’t blow smoke will be out of work

  • Steve

    And before anyone suggests the Yanks sign him, lets back track a little bit. The Yankees could have had him 3 years ago in the prime of his career for nothing (but his contract) when he was placed on irrevocable waivers. They passed. I think its foolish to think they will sign him now when he’s on the decline and give up 2 draft picks to get him.

    He doesn’t fit the Yankee clubhouse. He’s not a Yankee type player, despite how good he is. Same goes for Bonds.

    You may want him, but the only meaningful question is does Cashman or Hank and Hal want him. That question has already been answered.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

      There is no such thing as a “Yankee type player”. It is a God Damn uniform and that’s it. There is nothing “special” about a player who plays in the Bronx, the Yankees are just one of thirty other MLB teams. I am so tired of this “True Yankee” or “Yankee type player” garbage. We are not some higher order, we have a 25-man active roster and a 40-man roster just like everybody else.

      A “Yankee type player” is just a player who has played for the Yankees, that’s it, nothing more, nothing less.

      • Old Ranger

        A “Yankee type player” is just a player who has played for the Yankees, that’s it, nothing more, nothing less.

        In fact you are right! In reality you are wrong! Only in the fact that players come to the Yanks and adapt to the way the other players are doing things. Most of the guys know that the WS is the only thing that counts.
        As (I think) Hank Bauer said, “Don’t come in here and mess with my WS check!” Would you agree to that interpretation of Yank type? 27/08??

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

          I agree that it’s a bunch of fanatical BS that means nothing.

        • JeffG

          I couldn’t disagree with you guys more. A couple of weeks ago I made the argument that I think putting on the pinstripes means something. Don’t feel like rehashing it other than just to say I disagree and I’m with Steve on this one.

      • Steve

        Right, which is why Johnny Damon still has hair down to his knees. Because playing for the Yankees is the same as any other team.

        Its also why Jeter and Posada are known for running an “anything goes” type clubhouse.

        All that stuff about the Yanks having pride, tradition and a corporate way of doing things is all meaningless. Thats why Girardi chewed out his team a few weeks ago when they were playing badly, saying that “putting on that uniform should mean something” to his players.


  • http://riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    Steve: True or false? A-Rod is getting paid more under his new contract than he was prior to opting out.

    Believe what you want about the Boras/A-Rod relationship, but the truth is that Alex, with Boras’ help, got a better deal than he had and a better deal than he would have received when his old deal had expired. That’s a job well done for a agent.

    • Steve

      After Alex had to go through back channels and pretty much negotiate the deal HIMSELF?

      After Alex has gone public saying he wants nothing to do with Boras anymore?

      After Alex FIRED him as his agent?

      You want to give Boras credit for THAT? Are you serious?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

        First off, Scott Boras has not been fired by Alex Rodriguez. Secondly, the bottom line of Ben’s point is correct, Alex Rodriguez will now be a richer man under his current deal with the New York Yankees than he would have been under his old contract with the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.

        Was it not Scott Boras who got A-Rod to opt out? Did A-Rod not receive a better contract after opting out? How did Boras not do a great job? Nobody in business cares how you get deeper pockets, it’s just as long as you do and how you get there does not cost you too much money, if any.

        • Steve

          “How did Boras not do a great job? ”

          By making (the very image conscious) A-Rod a national disgrace by announcing his opt out during the last game of the World Series. A-Rod himself said he was horrified at the timing.

          When A-Rod is horrified by somebody else’s narcissism, you know they must be off the charts.

          That also does hurt him financially, since guys like A-Rod stand to make more money off the field than on if they have a positive, marketable image. Ask Tiger Woods about that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

    Manny Ramirez’s vital line in the month of July (his final days in Beantown) was .347/.473/.587/1.060, how in God’s name can anybody say he wasn’t trying? What the hell did they want him to do, post a 1.800-OPS? Just another BS smear campaign from the Boston front office, fuck ’em.

    • Steve H

      Well he did screw up a fly ball in the outfield, and since he was a Gold Glove caliber outfielder for the first 7.5 years, he must have been tanking it.

  • Sam

    I don’t care what anyone says about “true Yankees” and “effort”- Manny Ramirez wants to play for the Yankees, and the only thing that would deter me from signing him is if he’s asking for 20 million.

    Now, in all fairness, I’m sure he will, but if Manny really wants to stick it to the Red Sox as was reported today (http://www.nypost.com/seven/08092008/sports/yankees/mannys_revenge__eyes_bx__123658.htm), he’ll offer his services for the same kind of money that Abreu is getting. I would hop all over that if this miracle occurred. On the other hand, the NY Post is easily the worst newspaper in New York, and probably America. So take it all with a grain of salt.

    In conclusion, Ian Kennedy is pretty garbage at the moment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

    Sorry to say this, but esteemed comedian and entertainer, Bernard McCullough (A.K.A. “Bernie Mac”), has died in a Chicago hospital. He was 50-years-old and was recently suffering from a bout of pneumonia.

    He, along with Chris Rock and Lewis Black, was one of my favorite comedians. His show, “The Bernie Mac Show”, was hilarious. I’m really going to miss this dude, R.I.P.


    • E-ROC

      He was only friggin’ 50. Bernie Mac, Martin Lawrence, DL Hughley, and Bill Maher are my favorites. George Carlin was another.

  • JimT

    I think that you are a bit off point here Ben. The issue Selig is bringing up is the players behavior and in particular Boras’ influence on his behavior. And by extension Boras’ influence over a team’s ability to control a player under contract. The battleground is Boras and Selig’s office. Sure, there are elements of the press and fans that are still lamenting Manny’s departure, but the management team of the Red Sox has moved on at this point and has no “dog in this fight”. Selig’s concern is Boras’ growing influence on the game in general.

    Responces like that of AD really make me laugh. To suggest that there is a solution that hasn’t been explored by the Red Sox managemnet people is just silly. Think what you will, they are not stupid people. For years they have reasoned, cajoled, fined and threatened this guy to participate and perform. Put yourself in thier positions, if you wre a member of the Red Sox management team wouldn’t you explore every possibilty of keeping this talented player on your team? It finally broke beyond repair. Like so many decisions in life, business and sports it was a risk / reward analysis, for the Red Sox the risk had outweighed the potential for reward with Manny.

    If the Yankees are going to consider Manny’s services in the off season they’ll have to do thier own risk / reward assesment. Manny is a dynamic offensive force at his best, but a mecurial and difficult personality to deal with. Add to that the factors of advancing age and the prospects of diminshing returns and it becomes a difficult equation to sort through.

    Besides, the Yankees really need to address thier pitching needs. I know that there has been disapointment surrounding the offense this season. But the real key to the Yankees future lies in the health and future performance of thier young pitchers.

    • Steve H

      JimT he has performed. They won 2 titles in his 7 years, remember they had a little drought before him. The enabled him, they never put their foot down and let him do whatever he wanted. To try and get tough now was a waste of time, they had already established with him that he could do what he wanted. Again, look at his July line, while he may have skipped a game here and there (which he has done all 7 seasons in Boston) he produced, time and time again.

      • JimT

        No aurgument, he has performed. But the real question is was’t going to happen going forward? There were very few people ( a few writers and a small group of fans) that wanted to remove Manny’s skills from the Red Sox line up. This is just my opinion, but I don’t think that the Red Sox front office simply wanted to get rid of Manny. They had been around him enough so that they knew and had learned to live with his idiosyncrasies. I believe that they wanted him to play out his contract and then re-negociate a new contract based on thier precieved value of him going forward. It was only when they viewed his behavior as having a deeper more negative effect on the team that they changed thier tack. Manny forced thier hand.

        The Red Sox did everything in thier power to keep this guy happy and motivated over a period of years. We aren’t involved in the day to day of the team and we don’t really know what has transpired during negociations. We can only surmise from what we read in the papers. Reporters, papers, the players and thier agents and the teams all have thier agendas. Do we realy know is going on?

        The Red Sox may well miss the post season as a direct consiquence of this action. For we Red Sox fans that will be a disapointment, we had great expectations for this team. But the people that run the team are confident that its the right move for the long term health of the organization. No one player is bigger than the team. Time will tell.

  • Chris

    Just a question: if the Yankees give up a type-A free agent (and thus get a second 1st round pick), but also sign two type A free agents, what happens with the draft picks? I assume they lose their original pick to someone, but who? Do they lose one of the picks that they get from losing their free agents?

    • A.D.

      you can’t loose aquired picks, what would happen is they loose their 1st rounder to one team, and their 2nd rounder to another, the teams get the pick depending on who is the better type A free agent

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    The headline for that Yahoo article you linked to was perfect Ben:

    “Boston doesn’t like Manny monster it created

    Emphasis Mine.

  • the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusiness

    That Yahoo article by Tim Brown (the brilliant wordsmith, not the football player) was very poorly written. Near the beginning of the article Timmy (the baseball sage, not the retarded dude from South Park) wrote that the Dodgers “get to see what a big-league hitter in his prime looks like.” Towards the end Brown (the loquacious scribe, not the baddest dude in the whole damn town) mentioned that “Manny will turn 37 early next season and if $20 million doesn’t sound like too much now it might in a year or two.” Apparently the age 36 season is part of a player’s prime now. 37 and 2 months is still old though. T.B. (the acclaimed biomedical gerontologist, not the disease) said so.

    Even worse, I got the sense that Brownie (the poetic genius, not one of the wanna-be Girl Scouts) was trying to emulate Mike Lupica. Completely unacceptable.