Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Calling the Manny/Boras bluff... one team at a time

Manny's price too high for Giants.

Well I for one, say good.

As a diehard Giants fan, I'd love nothing more than to see a powerful lineup with an intriguing, entertaining slugger anchoring it. Since they dumped Barry in a messy divorce, we've collectively gone through slugger withdrawals for over a year... and it hasn't been easy. Many of us awake in cold sweats, shaking from the lack of pop. We have nightmares about a 60 home run team losing 2-1 games to San Diego in August. Once during a night terror I saw Matt Cain's head explode in the dugout after he pitched a no-hitter and lost. Jesus, talk about a nightmare.

But onto the whole Manny thing.

Manny to the Giants was never serious. I'm not sure what it is with this hot stove season. I guess it was just that there was a dearth of teams with available money this offseason, so each and every big free agent has been connected to each one at one time or another. The other factor at play here is that Scott Boras represents a good number of these available players. He notoriously leaks falsehoods to random newspapers (probably for cash) in hopes of creating inaccurate fantasy markets for his clients.

He most famously did this in 2006 when he bluffed the Giants into outbidding the New York Mets (and themselves) for Barry Zito to the tune of $30-40 million. Fortunately for us in the real world, people have wised up to Boras's BS and the Manny Ramirez market is extremely slow.

Like Boras, Manny is a guy we love to hate. He's an incredible talent, a surefire hall of famer, a malcontent, a ticket seller, and a conundrum. He won two World Series titles, had a (Red Sox) Nation of adoring fans, made $20 million a year, and still found it in him to be a divisive jerk. The guy quit on his teammates and his fans. And like his impeccable timing in left field, he picked a horrible time to take his dive.

With the Giants officially out of the Manny sweepstakes (even though they were never in it seriously), that leaves only 3-- maybe 4 teams that can afford this malcontent. Boras's laughable demands of 5 years, $125 million for a 36 year old dope are enough to make a beverage come out of anyone's nose. I can't help but chuckle right now. What planet are Manny and Boras on exactly?

As I see it, this guy is getting no more than a 2 year deal with a 3rd year option, probably in the $21-25 million per year range. No one is willing to extend themselves further than that right now. Economic uncertainty, defensive liabilities, and Manny's disruptive pattern of behavior are all extreme turnoffs, and BorMan have backed themselves into a corner.

These are the only teams I could fathom Manny landing with:

Los Angeles Dodgers

They want and need him back badly. They also know that they are the only serious bidders remaining out of all 30 teams. They quickly offered him a fair deal of 2 years, $45M, and were even going to make it worth 3 years and $60 million. The hated Dodgers kept their self respect (unfortunately) and withdrew the offer after Boras wouldn't even acknowledge them (like the jerk he is). They are unlikely to offer him any more years or money, but it is widely believed that their offer still stands.

Texas Rangers

Let me say that right now, I have no sources on this. I've read no articles, and have heard no rumors. With that out of the way, here's how I see it.

The Rangers are in a constant battle to stay relevant-- both in Texas and beyond. They don't draw well, they haven't been competitive in years, and their corner outfield spots flanking superbeast Josh Hamilton are weak. Of course, their main issue is always pitching. That never seems to change. But their deep pocketed, impulsive owner Tom Hicks is always down to throw some money around and Manny obviously doesn't care about winning. It fits in too many ways. Look at this projected lineup:

2B - Ian Kinsler
SS - Michael Young
CF - Josh Hamilton
LF/DH - Manny Ramirez
3B/1B - Chris Davis
1B/DH - Hank Blalock
C/1B - Saltalamachhia/ C - Teagarden
LF/RF - David Murphy
LF/RF - Marlon Byrd/Nelson Cruz

I'll tell you what that is. Pure filth. Total roster flexibility. Tom Hicks, just do it and keep this guy out of Chavez Ravine!

Washington Nationals

Although the Nationals have a glut of right handed outfielders who strike out too much, this would be a big splash for them. They've got a year old ballpark on the river which didn't see as many fans as they would have liked in its inaugural season. The Nats went hard after Mark Teixeira, but lost out to the Evil Empire. If they were able to trade a combination at least two of these merry men: Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns, Lastings Milledge, Ryan Langerhans, or Wily Mo Pena, they'd have room for Manny out in left. As we know, the worst team in baseball would be a perfect spot for Manny to collect a fat paycheck.

New York Yankees

Don't ever count them out. Sure they added an ungodly amount of payroll so far. But their fans are clamoring for them to go all out. With Manny in the mix with the Yanks, I think they'd have to be on the short list of legit contenders. The lineup would be hairy enough to make any manager squirm. Of course the Yanks can outbid everyone else and Manny would have no qualms about taking Bronx blood money to stick it to the Red Sox. The Yanks could conceivably offer him 3 years, $75M without batting an eyelash. The question is, would they?

That's it. That's the short list. 4 teams... and that's even stretching it. We all know the Nats aren't players, the Rangers I just conjured up out of pure common sense, and the Yankees are likely done spending.

That leaves... The Dodgers.

Good luck trying to bluff 1/30th of the league into getting into a bidding war with itself. They called your bluff ScottRam.

Labels: , , , , , , ,