Did Manny really quit on the Dodgers?

I know I'm way behind on this story, so I'll let a non-behinder take the lead today:

    Yesterday I took Ken Rosenthal to task for saying that Manny Ramirez "quit on the Dodgers." My reason: neither Rosenthal's nor anyone else's reports had any evidence that he did quit on them. I thought it was your typical shoveling of dirt on Manny because he's made himself a pretty handy dirt receptacle over the years.

    But maybe Manny did quit! Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com reports today that, according to two Dodgers sources, Manny "declined his spot in the starting lineup" on Sunday. Joe Torre won't confirm it. Guess we have to wait for his next book.

Craig's next sentence begins, "I don't recant my criticism of Rosenthal's piece yesterday ..."

I don't think that's the smartest move here.

Those of us who were weaned on Bill James and the Internets -- well, not weaned, but post-weaned -- tend to give the players the benefit of the doubt, while extending little quarter to baseball executives and longtime BBWAA members and anyone else who reeks of the Establishment.

There are good and worthy reasons for this tendency. But even before this news that MannyB self-selected out of the lineup, wasn't his one-pitch ejection Sunday night enough evidence -- considering his history -- to suggest that he'd quit on the Dodgers? Wasn't it fair for baseball writers, Establishment or not, to suggest that maybe the Dodgers deserved a little more effort for their $20 million?

Not that I've got any sympathy for Manny's employers. Seriously, how did they think this story was going to end? The only way that $45 million contract was going to work was if Ramirez was mostly healthy in both seasons and the Dodgers got into the playoffs in both seasons. Well, they went 1-for-4. Which really shouldn't have been so hard to predict.

Craig's right about one thing, though ... Joe Torre's next book should be a real doozy.