Archive for Manny Ramirez

Now that Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras know that the market for the slugger isn’t as robust as they hoped, the dynamic duo has gone crawling back to the Dodgers. While Boras still contends that a market for Manny will soon materialize, I wonder if they’ll be able to get the Dodgers to put that generous two-year, $45-million offer back on the table. Everyone in baseball knows that Ned Colletti will be competing with himself for the services of Ramirez.

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The unwanted Manny Ramirez

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When the Yanks signed Mark Teixeira, I proclaimed Manny as the biggest loser of the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes. The Yanks would have signed him had the Red Sox landed Teixeira, but with the Yanks out of the pitcher, the market for Manny is practically non-existent. Ramirez turned down a guaranteed two years and $40 million when he forced his trade from Boston, and Buster Olney says that Manny has only himself to blame.

I know some Yankee fans harbor a pipe dream that would see Manny land in New York for one year at some obscene dollar value, and I know others who would never root for Manny in pinstripes. I don’t think Manny will be Bronx-bound. Ironically, as Olney notes, the Red Sox are the only team left with the money and clear need for Manny, but the future Hall of Famer is learning the hard way that baseball karma is a bitch.

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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.

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Morning Manny mania

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We have some Manny updates we never got around to mentioning yesterday. It seems as though a rather amusing game of “nuh-uh, uh-huh” is developing between some random news site in the Dominican and the Yankee front office.

After Brian Cashman denied Sunday night’s Impacto Deportivo story about an impending deal between Manny and the Yankees, the Dominican-based site reiterated its story yesterday afternoon. The latest report says that Manny is currently in Brazil but will be featured at a press conference once he returns. The story also notes that the negotiations between the two sides are ongoing.

This latest salvo from the Dominican prompted Hal Steinbrenner to deny the rumors as well. “If we are, I don’t know about it,” the younger Steinbrenner told Kat O’Brien yesterday.

At this point, the story has moved from the realm of the odd into the world of the weird. I can’t quite figure why a Dominican sports site would be so vehement in pushing this rumor while two members of the Yankee front office continue to deny it. It is possible that the Yankees are denying it because negotiations are indeed ongoing and a deal hasn’t been reached yet, but in an off-season rife with leaks, no one else has reported this story.

If the Yanks don’t emerge in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Manny land in the Bronx, but I don’t think it’s going to happen “en unos dias” as Impacto Deportivo continues to report. Teixeira’s saga may wrap up by Christmas, but Manny will remain unsigned into 2009. Maybe we’ll all be surprised, but I doubt it. I do wonder though what’s happening down there in the Dominican with Franklin Mirabal and Impacto Deportivo. How strange.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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Bryan Hoch texted Brian Cashman this morning, and the Yanks’ GM categorically denied last night’s report of an impending Manny signing. I’m inclined to believe the words coming out of Cashman’s mouth, but he could just be denying the report because it’s not a done deal. Either way, if the Yanks and Manny are even in discussions, I highly doubt a signing will be forthcoming any time soon.

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Update 1:22 a.m.: According to SportsCenter, Manny won’t be taking any offers until after Teixeira signs. That news could be in response to this leak and a sluggish market for Teixeira or it could be more reliable. Just keep it in mind as you read about the Impacto Deportivo report about Manny I highlight below.

* * *

The Yankee news of the night doesn’t come from ESPN, FoxSports or Jon Heyman. Rather, it’s from a Spanish-language sports site based in the Dominican Republic.

According to Impacto Deportivo, the Yankees and Manny Ramirez are on the verge of a three-year, $75-million contract. The short report says that negotiations are advanced with an official announcement set to come on Monday or Tuesday. It also notes that Manny would have liked to stay in LA but that the Dodgers didn’t want to pay the steep price.

Tim Dierkes, at MLB Trade Rumors, reported this story about 40 minutes ago but did so with an eyebrow raised in skepticism. Impacto Deportivo has a mixed track record when it comes to breaking stories. They did, however, break the Damaso Marte signing earlier this winter.

I, like Tim, am a bit skeptical of this news. First, it’s the first we’ve heard of advanced negotiations between the Yanks and Manny’s camp. Considering how Scott Boras runs the exact opposite of a tight camp, news embargoed until the negotiations are at an advanced stage would be shocking. This may also just be a mistranslation of Mark Feinsand’s story of a Manny offer. Furthermore, the Mark Teixeira situation has not been resolved, and in fact, the Yanks could be emerging as prime players in that market.

To wit, the Angels have officially dropped out of the Teixeira bidding, and reports say that the Red Sox have not contacted Boras since Thursday. While ESPN, as you can see at right, clearly wants all Mark Teixeira to involve the Red Sox — how is Angels’ news not deserving of an Angels logo? — this latest development would increase the Yanks’ chances. Unless Teixeira absolutely wants the Nationals’ money, he may be fielding offers from the Yanks, Red Sox, Orioles and Nats. The field is that more wide open.

We’ll of course monitor as this new develops, but things may be coming to a head for the Yankees, Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira as Christmas looms. Who knows which one, if any, will be under the Steinbrenner tree. If tonight’s Impacto Deportivo story is to be believed, Manny it will be.

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I know we talked about this last night in the open thread, but it’s worth its own thread. Mark Feinsand reports that a source of his close to Manny says that the slugger expcts the Yanks to make him an offer. That’s about as reliable as a game of telephone, but there you go.

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Jon Heyman had a few interesting reports pop up on his Hot Stove News Tracker blog last night. First, he reported that the Yanks are still eying Derek Lowe. Then a few minutes later, he noted that the Yanks still think Andy Pettitte will come back. I still don’t know how these reports don’t contradict each other.

Anyway, Heyman’s post on Andy Pettitte features two intriguing gems. First, Heyman notes that the Yanks have been looking at Ben Sheet’s medical records. That could indicate an impending offer. But of potentially more importance to the team going forward is this:

If Pettitte does say yes, the Yankees will save some money on the final starter, since Sheets and Lowe would cost more — and that could enhance their chances to add a big bat, meaning either Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez.

Now, while I’ve been a bit lukewarm on bringing back Pettitte, I really like the sound of adding a bat — and especially adding the bat the Red Sox appear to be targeting.

Maybe Mark Teixeira is just a pipe dream. Maybe the Yanks can shoulder only so many $160-million contracts. But as Ken Rosenthal writes, “If the Yankees want to draw a line, they should draw it with paying Andy Pettitte $10 million to be their fifth starter or Mike Cameron $10 million to be their center fielder. Not with Teixeira, for crying out loud.”

Meanwhile, Mark Feinsand has a different take on things. It’s not Teixeira but rather Manny Ramirez who is on the Yanks’ radar. According to Feinsand, Manny may in fact be causing a Front Office debate of sorts. Hank & Hal want Manny while Brian Cashman is more reluctant to pursue the enigmatic and expensive slugger. There’s nothing like a good old fashioned power play in the Bronx over an issue that has no right or wrong answer.

No matter the outcome, the Yanks seem to be going all in this off-season. They’ve spent a lot of money to improve the team. What’s another $23 million between friends? The right investment in the right bat certainly would make them clear early-season World Series favorites. Now, we just have to see who rules the day and if the Yanks can actually pull the trigger.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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Whetting our appetites for more Hot Stove rumors is the latest from Jon Heyman. He reports that the Yanks are in on the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, but the team does not feel it will outbid Boston, Anaheim or the DC-Baltimore duo. They could, of course, very well surprise everyone, but the more I think about committing eight or nine years to Teixeira, the more hesitant I become. Heyman, meanwhile, notes that if Teixeira signs elsewhere, the Yanks will almost definitely go in on Manny Ramirez. A bat will be added to the Bronx lineup yet.

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For the better part of the last few months, I’ve been pushing Manny as a potential piece for the Yanks’ lineup. The problem, of course, with Manny is his fielding. He has become a liability in the field almost to the point where an AL team that signs him would do so as a DH, and the Yankees already have a DH in the oft-injured Hideki Matsui.

Yesterday, in the comments to my brief piece on payroll, I got into a debate with long-time RAB fan Dan about Matsui and Manny. I believed that Manny would such a force that the Yanks should sign him now and worry about Matsui later. But Dan disagreed, and in a well-reasoned piece on The Poor Man’s Analyst, Dan offers up his take:

Let’s aggressively project Manny for 40 runs above average next season. He then gets a positional adjustment of -15 for playing DH instead of the outfield. [We don't need to compare him (or Matsui) to replacement because we're not figuring total value, which would be versus a replacement player, we're just comparing the two of them in similar playing time. If you really want to, add 16 or 17 runs to the total to approximate a replacement level comparison in slightly limited playing time (~140 games)]. So that’s 25 runs above average for Manny. Doing the same thing for Matsui now…. his 2007 had him as 20 runs above average in 143 games, so that’s 5 runs above average for Hideki.

So for 2009, Manny is projected to be 20 runs above what Matsui would provide. That’s probably what people expected, I know I didn’t think the gap wold be any smaller. But Manny is reportedly demanding a 3-year deal in the neighborhood of $65-70 million. Are those 20 runs worth the $11 million per win (over Matsui) that they would cost? Is any win worth $11 million?

I can’t tell you the answer, that’s for the Steinbrenners to decide. For those people who say it’s worth it, I’m going to spend a little time thinking of other ways the Yankees can get those two wins over what Matsui provides for less money. Anyone care to make any suggestions for finding those missing 20 runs?

That’s a compelling case against Manny with some not-so-outlandish statistical assumptions to back it up. Perhaps Mark Teixeira would be the better target after all.

Of course, there is a real problem though with Dan’s assumption about Matsui’s health. He’s played 140 games just once over the last three seasons. In 2006, he missed time due to a bad wrist break, but in 2007, even while playing 142 games, he suffered knee problems. His 2008 was cut short due to his balky knees, and while he was playing, his power was significantly off his 2007 mark.

My belief that Manny could fill a need comes about because I don’t think we can pencil Matsui in for 140 games of 2007 level production. He’s going to be 35 and playing on two surgically-repaired knees. To me, that’s a recipe for disaster, and if he goes down, the options to replace him are dire indeed if Nick Swisher is ensconced at first base.

Maybe Teixeira is a better fit because he’s younger and plays a position the Yanks need to fill. With Teixeira, Swisher becomes one of the outfielders who could replace Matsui if Hideki gets injured. With Manny, Swisher stays at first, and Manny flat-out replaces Matsui to start the season. Dan believes Manny is an expensive and unnecessary luxury, but I come out somewhere in the middle. Teixeira is choice number one, but Manny could work as well.

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