Manny Ramirez's agent revealed early this morning that the All-Star outfielder hadn't accepted the offer made to him by the Dodgers on Wednesday, saying he remained "in the middle of negotiations" on behalf of the slugger.
Scott Boras declined to discuss the Dodgers' latest proposal, which would pay Ramirez $25 million this season and $20 million in 2010 if his client picked up a player option, according to baseball sources familiar with the offer who weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter. But while issuing a "no comment," Boras indicated that Ramirez hadn't reached an agreement with the Dodgers and that there was at least one other team in talks with him.
Though work might remain to be done to complete a deal, it was clear that progress was made on Wednesday, as the Dodgers granted Ramirez an opt-out clause at Boras' request, according to sources. The clause would let Ramirez, who turns 37 in May, void the second year of the contract and re-enter the free agent market next winter.
Speaking to The Times less than three weeks ago in Florida, Ramirez said he wouldn't let the prolonged contract talks hinder his on-field performance.
"That won't happen," he said. "Understand me, I have goals. I know that if I play six more years, I could get to my 3,000th hit and, who knows, maybe my 700th home run."
One, it's pretty obvious that this thing's going to get done, and probably soon. When it does get done, the Dodgers immediately go from being slight underdogs in the West to being slight favorites.
Two, even if this doesn't get done soon, when it's done Manny will be ready. Say what you like about the guy, but he works hard and I'll be surprised if he doesn't hit the ground running. Or rather, hitting.
This supposed $45 million deal really is the best thing for everyone. Yes, it's probably more than Ramirez deserves, based strictly on his performance. Given his age and his recent (pre-2008) performance, he's "worth" closer to $15 million than $25 million (and given the current economic climate, even that's probably a little generous). But that doesn't include his marquee value, or the significantly increased chance of the Dodgers reaching the playoffs. I still don't think you can push his value to $25 million even with those things, but $20 million doesn't seem so outlandish.
So what about that the "extra" $5 million? That's just the cost of doing business with Scott Boras, who's got an empire to support.
And hey, it's only money.