Manny Ramirez has always been a player that has caused controversy. Last season, after much turmoil and disagreement with the Red Sox organization, Ramirez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He had an amazing year with the Dodgers, batting .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in just 53 games. His amazing season carried the Dodgers into the postseason and he helped give them their first playoff series win in a decade. Dodger fans quickly adored and appreciated Ramirez for his talent and production.
But after the season was over, Ramirez decided to become a free agent, hoping to score a big contract. He became a free agent in October and has still not signed with a team. Reportedly, Ramirez has received interest from a few teams including the Dodgers and Giants. The Dodgers have reportedly offered him four separate contracts, a three-year deal worth $60 million, an arbitration contract, one-year deal for $25 million and a two-year deal worth $45 million. But Ramirez and his agent Scott Boras have rejected every offer they have received because they feel that he is not getting the proper contract for his production. They want a contract that will pay him $25 million a year over a few years. But is Ramirez really worth that kind of money?
Manny Ramirez is undoubtedly one of the best baseball players of the last decade or so. He has career totals of 527 homeruns, 1,725 RBIs while hitting for a .314 average over 16 years. All these totals put him near the top of every category. There is no doubting his level of production, as he has been very productive for his whole career. He also rarely gets hurt; the smallest number of games he has played since his rookie year is 120. So if the Dodgers, Ramirez and Boras were negotiating based on statistics alone, Ramirez would deserve whatever contract he wanted. But along with all those numbers comes a lot of baggage.
Everywhere Manny Ramirez goes, controversy follows. He has always been ridiculed for his behavior around the media and his strong and quirky personality. Ramirez is never afraid to say what’s on his mind or do whatever he feels like. This gets him into trouble because if he is unhappy about his situation, he lets everyone know. He constantly requests trades because it seems as if he is never happy. There will be games where he doesn’t feel like playing, so he doesn’t show up. Ramirez is just one of those players that is always in the news because of his antics. He is like a watered down version of Terrell Owens, always stirring things up. Because of his wackiness and selfishness, the media has created the phrase “It’s just Manny being Manny” meaning don’t pay attention to what he’s doing because he always says and does crazy things that he doesn’t necessary mean. Either you love him or you hate him, that’s just the way it is with Man-Ram.
Because of his personality, many teams don’t want him. There’s a fear that having Manny will create bad chemistry or bad team morale because of his personality. So it’s understandable why the Dodgers are reluctant to offer him a huge contract. No one knows if he’ll request a trade a year after signing a mega-deal, because nothing is predicable with Ramirez.
Manny Ramirez is also 36 years old and has been in the league for a long time. Although his production hasn’t slowed down that much, it’s highly probable that it will because of his age. It’s a big risk giving an older player a long contract because the probability of him performing at a high level throughout the contract is very low. The Dodgers know this, so they are not willing to offer him the lengthy contract that he and Scott Boras want.
Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras are asking for too much from the Dodgers. Given Ramirez’s age and personality, it his highly unlikely that the Dodgers would be willing to give him the type of contract he desires. But Ramirez and Boras are stubborn and won’t settle for less than what they think they deserve. Boras is notorious for wanting more for his clients than they are really worth, and it’s no different for Ramirez. Being the great agent he is, Boras gets those contracts for his clients. Although Ramirez has not received an offer that he likes, he has received good offers. Earning $45 million over two years sounds good to me. It’s doubtful that the Dodgers will offer a contract significantly higher. Factor in the current economic situation, and it becomes even less likely that Ramirez will get the contract he wants. As a Dodgers fan, I want Manny Ramirez because he gives my team the best chance to compete for a World Series. Somebody has to budge in the negotiations and hopefully it will lead to Ramirez wearing Dodger blue.