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After the drama that led to his trade at the deadline in 2008, Manny Ramirez continued his career in the National League by re-signing win the Dodgers on a two-year $45-million deal. This was a far cry from the four-year $100-million deal Manny and super-agent Scott Boras imagined when Manny’s remaining options were voided as part of his trade to the Dodgers.
After a 2009 season marred by a 50-game suspension related to his positive test for female fertility drugs, Manny is boldly announcing that 2010 will be his last season with the Dodgers. If Manny intends to continue his playing career, who will be interested in the slugger and what effect will this season have on his earning potential? Scott Boras pulled a rabbit out of his hat after the 2008 season for that Dodgers contract and only time will tell if he has another up his sleeve.
Nope. I’ll confess to being a Manny fan, but it just won’t happen. Manny has been here, done that, can’t field, has stared down the front office and is represented by Scott Boras. A reunion with Boston is as likely as the Kansas City Royals trading for Albert Pujols.
How about the Chicago White Sox as a landing spot for Manny? Ozzie Guillen is already quite a character, minimizing any disruption Manny would bring to the clubhouse. The White Sox could put together the money it would take to sign Manny and he could slide right into their lineup as designated hitter in the proud tradition of Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.
As for the Cubs, with Soriano in the fold there just isn’t room for another expensive left fielder. Maybe the new owners want to make a splash and bring in Manny to try and end their World Series drought, but there are better ways to fix the team.
While the Mets have been linked to Manny in the past, with Jason Bay as their left fielder either Bay or Manny would have to shift to first base or another outfield position. Given the question marks hanging over the defensive abilities of both outfielders, this is unlikely.
The New York Yankees are the one team where you can argue Manny almost doesn’t fit on the roster. With Posada and Jeter both in contract years and both espressing desires to stay with the Yankees (while likely needing more rest as they age, not to mention A-Rod and his balky hip) the DH spot will be crowded in the Bronx. But, this is the Yankees we’re talking about, they would find a way to fit his bat into their lineup.
The Philabelphia Phillies are running out the statute of Raul Ibanez as a left fielder so why not Manny? The Phils are the closest thing to an American League lineup the NL has to offer with power up and down the batting order and Manny would be another step in that direction. However, with Ibanez signed through 2011, the Phillies would need to make a trade to open left field for Manny.
Manny would be a good fit for the Texas Rangers, should they decide to pay for the luxury. Still a young, up-and-coming team, Texas could use Manny as the DH and take advantage of his remaining hitting skill to boost their lineup.
After demanding a four-year, $100 million dollar deal following the 2008 season and walking away with “just” $45 million, with a portion of that subtracted due to his 50-game suspension, Manny may simply be looking for too much money to sign with any of these teams. In the last two offseasons, the salary for a poor defensive outfielder or DH with a strong bat has plummeted. Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu don’t have the Hall of Fame resume that Manny has, but they didn’t come close to the $20 or $25 million per year Manny is likely seeking.
Maybe during his trip to Taiwan some foreign scouts will be intrigued enough to bring Manny to Asia and shake up baseball on the other side of the Pacific. After all, Boras has done everything else, why not start sending his clients overseas if North American teams won’t meet his demands?