The real loser in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakesBy
Right now, the Red Sox and, to a lesser extent, the Angels must be reeling. The Yankees just swooped in and captured the big offensive prize of 2008 a few weeks after signing two of the top pitchers out there as well.
But while baseball fans from across the country line up to boo the extravagant Yankees, the real loser in the Mark Teixeira hunt isn’t one of the Yanks’ fellow competitors. It is none other than Manuel Aristides Ramirez, a player just a few days ago who was rumored to be heading to the Yanks as early as today.
Over the weekend, it seemed as though the Red Sox would emerge with Mark Teixeira. They needed a bat to replace Manny and to back up David Ortiz in their lineup. While they have Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell, they were about to go all in to land Teixeira. Had the Red Sox landed Teixeira, the Yanks probably would have turned their attention to Manny as a response, and Manny and Scott Boras knew that.
In fact, according Dan Graziano, the Yankees were more than prepared to make Manny an offer. Had Teixeira left for the Red Sox, Manny would have quickly become a Yankee, according to Graziano’s sources, and those sources were probably feeding Impacto Deportivo too when it seemed as though Teixeira was about to sign with the Red Sox.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The Red Sox got cold feet over a long-term, high-dollar deal, and the Yanks, long rumored to be on the periphery of the Teixeira negotiations, swooped in and landed themselves a $180-million Christmas present, Manny be damned. As they had hoped all along, Boras came calling at the last hour, and the Yankees blocked their rivals from landing a big bat and a Gold Glove first baseman, but they’ve also halted the Manny market.
Right now, things are at an impasse for Ramirez. The outfielder claims to be searching for a four- or three-year deal, but none have materialized in weeks. The Dodgers have withdrawn their two-year offer, and the Angels say they are unequivocally not interested. Even the Mets, in need of some help, say they aren’t interested either. The only other team that makes sense — the Red Sox — separated less than amicably from Manny just five months ago. As hard as it is to believe, with the Yankees out of the picture, no team is currently bidding for the services of Manny Ramirez, a future Hall of Famer.
Of course, over the next few weeks, that will probably change. As evidenced by their $170-million Teixeira play, the Nationals clearly have money to spend, and Manny might help fill seats in D.C. The Dodgers say they’re still interested and now have little competition. Manny will get some of his millions, but he won’t get what he could have gotten from the Yankees. This time, only one of Scott Boras’ clients will win.
Still, despite Tuesday’s turn of events, the Manny-to-the-Yankees crowd just won’t stop. In a piece published mere minutes before the Teixeira signing and hastily edited a few minutes later, Stephen A. Smith claimed that the Yankees need Manny. He stands by that stance. Meanwhile, Jesse Spector of The Daily News thinks the Yanks can add Manny and still cut payroll. But I’d say it’s all over for Manny and the Yanks.
Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner probably aren’t completely through with their winter spending yet. Andy Pettitte is still out there, and the Yanks could choose to revisit the Mike Cameron talks next month. Manny, however, isn’t in the cards, and while Ramirez once thought the road to the bank went through the Bronx, he emerged from Tuesday as the biggest loser so far.