Polishing off our first division will be the 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers.
Every baseball fan knows how last season went. The Dodgers were average until July 31.
Over the last two months of the season, the team was still just 30-24, but it was plainly obvious that the addition of Manny Ramirez made the team much more of a threat.
Manny finished fourth in the National League MVP race after playing for the team for just two months. Can you name the last player to win the award (NL or AL) after being traded during the season?
The Dodgers vastly improved their defense with the addition of Orlando Hudson. Plus the team’s overall makeup is full of players most other teams would die for (Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton). The mixture of very talented youngsters with strong veteran presence is something you can’t look past.
As of this instant, Manny is not a Dodger for 2009. If there’s no Manny, Juan Pierre becomes the likely full-time third outfielder for better or for worse. Behind the teams’ best three pitchers, is a logjam of pitchers recovering from injuries (Jason Schmidt, Shawn Estes) and other unknown variables.
It’s never happened. The next player to do it will be the first! There were several MVPs who won in their first season with a team, but none has been traded during the season and won the award.
Even without Manny, this team is the class of the NL West. The top of their rotation is the real deal and the “gamer” attitude seen throughout much of the position players is enough to carry the Dodgers to another divisional title with or without Manny.
I believe Manny Ramirez will be a Dodger again in 2009. But since he’s not on the roster….yet, I’m rating the team without him.
1st Place, NL West, 88-74.
So apparently Manny Ramirez has decided the terms of the Dodgers latest contract offer isn’t good enough.
If I’m Ned Coletti or any other GM/Owner in baseball or even a casual fan, I have to read that statement this way.
“I, Manny Ramirez, do not want to play baseball!”
I was a Manny defender for a long time, right up until he pushed the Sox travelling secretary. But this decision on Manny’s part is ridiculous.If earning $20MM when he’s 39 (in 2010) isn’t enough change for this chump, then the Dodgers aren’t going to be able to meet his demands. It’s as simple as that.
As for the Dodgers, the best thing they can do right now is to give Manny an ultimatum, similar to the Packers and Brett Favre after the 2007 season. The Dodgers should keep that offer on the table but put a final “drop-dead” date for Manny before they move on without him.
And that date can’t be too far out. March begins on Sunday and this team as do all the others in baseball, need to focus on the 162 games that begin in a little more than a month. We all know Manny isn’t focused on those 162 games yet. And while we know he could get himself ready, it’s obvious he doesn’t want to.
Manny knows nobody else is going to offer $45MM over two seasons and likely won’t get a four year deal from anyone else either, which leads to the only possible explanation, he doesn’t want to play baseball. It’s evident in the way he performs, he’s like the kid in 3rd grade who’s tested out at 8th grade math, but still has to learn basic arithmetic. He’s so talented that he gets bored with the game itself, much like the third grader. So to make things more interesting, Manny demands too much money, enough to make it interesting for himself, but leaving himself room to say it’s not enough so I’m not going to play.
As for the Dodgers, would it really be that bad if Manny doesn’t sign? Probably not. They’ve already improved their team, especially up the middle with a healthy Rafael Furcal and the addition of Orlando Hudson. Sure they missed out on all the other outfielders on the market, but really did they need one with Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Juan Pierre, they have enough to compete, especially in this division.
It’s time for the Dodgers to excuse themselves from the table. If Manny really doesn’t want to play, the Dodgers need to call him on it, see if he’s bluffing. If not, they get one of the all-time greats, if he is ready to quit, then the Dodgers can return to being a normal Major League Baseball Club.
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Even in the final hours of the Manny trade fiasco last July, I was embattled with myself as to whether or not I truly wanted to see the Red Sox lose the HOF slugger.
As is typical with myself and most sports fans, at the end of the day you get on with your life and love your team for who they are, not necessarily who they were just hours before. Thus, I wished him well and good-riddance at the same time.
In light of everything that came out through the Red Sox media relations and Boston media, combined with Manny’s “miraculous” recovery from his “Boston injuries,” I feel I don’t need an explanation from Manny, but would still be interested in hearing his side of the story.
Well, up until today.
In the last 24 hours, the Dodgers, seemingly the only team interested in giving Manny a contract worth anything even halfway resembling the sluggers wildest dreams, gave him basically a take-it-or-leave-it offer, at one year for $25M.
What does Manny do?
just to say: Thanks but no thanks.
To any other GMs paying attention, if this isn’t the clearest sign as to Manny’s intentions, you may want to start looking for another job in another organization, like Burger King or Starbucks.
Manny has one reason and one reason only for saying no to this contract offer.
He doesn’t want to play hard. He doesn’t want to need to play a full season at the pace he played for LA last August & September. Frankly, he doesn’t want to play a full season, period.
Manny’s not stupid. He knows he’s among the best the game’s ever seen. You don’t think he saw what Roger Clemens was able to get with Houston and later the Yankees, with all kinds of personal clauses in the contract and think, hey, I can do that too?
By getting a 4-6 year deal at $25M/year, Manny obviously would have the liberty in finishing his career in Manny style, which may or may not include actually playing baseball.
Instead, what he sees the Dodgers offering, is a one year deal that would essentially prove to the baseball world what we already knew, he tanked on the Sox last year.
How would we know? Because his one-year contract would force him to play like this (.396 AVG, .489 OBP, .743 SLG, 1.232 OPS) for another FULL season before sending him back into the free agent market where he gets ANOTHER contract.
Most players have good seasons right before becoming free agents and Manny in many ways would be just like every other player entering a free agent year. He’d be more encouraged to play harder to get his money.
Of course his problem is 162 games is an eternity in Manny-time. That’s not even enough time to wash those “well-kept” dreadlocks more than once or twice. Not enough time to count how much money he can pile up on his bed. Not enough time to even find special places in Dodger stadium to take a leak.
Manny doesn’t care about his team. He cares about one thing and one thing only, Manny. While that’s not entirely bad, there are millions of other people like him around the world, He’s in the enviable position of being one of the best baseball players to ever have put on a uniform, but that doesn’t matter because he doesn’t want to play the game.