Just to put the Yankees’ hand-wringing over Alex Rodriguez in perspective, imagine if the Dodgers’ contract with Manny Ramirez still had two years to run.
There are some early signs that the Dodgers’ negotiations involving Manny Ramirez, who almost single-handedly lifted the storied franchise to the postseason, will not necessarily go smoothly. Ramirez is believed to be seeking a six-year deal for as much as $25 million per year, and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is said to be skeptical that the competition will be keen for the controversial but ultra-productive superstar he acquired for virtually nothing a minute before the trade deadline.
Ramirez’s agent, Scott Boras, declined to name a target price in an interview with SI.com on Wednesday. That $150 million total price tag is an estimate based on Boras’ use of the word “iconic” to describe the 36-year-old Ramirez, combined with Ramirez’s own constant mention of a “six-year deal” during frequent media interviews this postseason. Another factor is the reminders from those close to Manny that the 10-year deal Alex Rodriguez signed last year calls for him to be paid his regular $30 million salary from ages 38-42.
Ramirez apparently isn’t kidding with his occasional hints about a six-year deal. If that sounds like a stretch, the Dodgers will have to consider the alternative, which is to present a Manny-less team the year after the hitting savant saved them in the regular season, then carried them in October.
“He pays for himself. You’ve got a free player with Manny,” Boras said. “He’s an iconic player who’s changed the face and fortunes of the franchise.” …
… In other words, Boras is not offering apologies or discounts related to the unprofessional way in which Ramirez forced his way out of Boston. In true no-retreat, no-surrender Boras style, he is strongly hinting that he wants a six-year contract for Ramirez at top-of-the-market dollars.
“All I will tell you is, name me the player in recent times that has had the kind of season [Ramirez] has had this season and postseason,” Boras said yesterday during a conversation that lasted more than an hour.
“Put that together with two [championship] rings on his fingers, and the history he has, and that he is two years younger than Bonds when [Bonds] was a free agent. Bonds signed a five-year contract [for $90 million after the 2001 season] at 38 [he turned 38 midway through the first year of the deal] and got paid until he was 42.
“If Bonds gets five years at 38, what does Manny get at 36? If A-Rod gets paid to 42 [on his 10-year deal with the Yankees], why not Manny? He doesn’t take a backseat to him.” …