For better or worse, Dodgers stuck with Manny

May, 8, 2009
In July, Manny Ramirez began telling teammates he would do whatever it took to get out of the last two years of his Red Sox contract and get out of Boston. If it meant decking the traveling secretary, holding up his teammates by refusing to board a bus, forgetting which knee was bothering him when he said he couldn't play, he was going to free himself from the two $20 million-per-season options the Red Sox held after paying him $160 million. And during that time, he told teammates he was going to get a four-year, $100 million deal or a six-year, $150 million deal.

Now, Ramirez has a problem. He's one more flunked test from being suspended for 100 games.

What owner in his right mind would invest three years in someone who could miss two-thirds of a season?

And there's another problem. Look at the numbers that go with the current suspension:

Time period Avg. OBP SLG OPS ABs per HR
1999-2006, ages 27-34 .322 .424 .626 1.050 12.9
2007-July 31, 2008, ages 35-36 .297 .392 .508 .901 21.2
Aug. 1, 2008-May 5, 2009, age 36+ .380 .490 .710 1.200 12.1

From 1998 through 2005, Ramirez averaged 41 homers a season. When he was traded on July 31, he was on a pace to hit 27 homers, a season after hitting 20.

Maybe it was all because he felt claustrophobic in Boston, and he didn't feel like moving four miles to the peace and tranquility of Red Sox owner John Henry's neighborhood in Brookline, Mass. Maybe it was traveling secretary Jack McCormick's fault for not giving him everything he wanted. Maybe he is as innocent as John Boy, as talented as Albert Pujols.

But it's going to be very difficult for any owner to look at the numbers, get the report from MLB and give him what the exile from Boston Common was all about -- long years and big dollars. He will win back the Dodgers fans who tormented Barry Bonds if he leads the Dodgers to a world championship, which is entirely possible.

But the way it looks today, he belongs to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who is dying to bring the Dodgers back to their pre-eminence as a franchise. And now McCourt is faced with Ramirez's betrayal of his marketing scheme and doubts about the cold hard facts of his $45 million investment.


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