The Manny math

December, 24, 2008
Mark Teixeira's new contract? In addition to making Teixeira exceptionally wealthy and the Yankees exceptionally solid at first base, that contract has won a bit of Dan Graziano's respect for Scott Boras. Why? Well, it's sort of complicated, but it seems that Teixeira's deal might cost Manny Ramirez -- and by extension, Boras -- a fair amount of money …

    At this point, [Ramirez has] basically got to go crawling back to the Dodgers, who offered $45 million for two years two months ago and got laughed at. Sure, there's a chance Scott Boras can get him a deal we can't currently foresee -- that somebody unimaginable like the Reds or Mariners or Marlins will show up with a four-year offer and Manny will get what he wanted all along.

    But right now, it doesn't look good for Manny. Right now, it looks like dogging his way out of Boston was a bad play, and that he might not be as beautifully positioned in the free-agent market as a 500-homer guy who hit .396 over the last two months of the season and carried a team into the postseason should be.

    Which actually says something decent about his agent -- a guy for whom "decent" is generally a laughable adjective.

    Think about it -- if Scott Boras truly were the chess master he is often portrayed to be, Teixeira would have signed with the Red Sox. Had that happened, the Yankees would be bidding hard for Ramirez. As it stands, by signing with the Yankees, fellow Boras client Teixeira has practically wiped out Ramirez's market.

Doesn't this sort of presuppose that players simply go where their agents tell them to go? I don't believe that's the way it usually works. Boras is a chess master … but that doesn't mean he's going to leave $20 million for one client on the table just to boost the offer for another client. Besides, we really don't know what Teixeira wanted (other than a great deal of money). Maybe he really wanted to play in New York. Maybe he really didn't want to play in Boston. There are just too many variables for us to make any sweeping conclusions about his agent's motivation.

The market for Manny certainly has thinned, though. I don't know that Boras will crawl back to the Dodgers, as I suspect he's still got a trick or two up his sleeves. But that four- or five-year deal for $25 million per season that was bandied about last month? That's probably gone. As it should be. There are just too many questions about Manny's attitude and his future to merit that sort of contract. Two years and $45 million? He should be happy to have it.



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