If Unable To Land the Manny-Fish, Dodgers May Need To Cut Fresh Bait

J.C. AyvaziSenior Analyst IFebruary 4, 2009

With Manny Ramirez, or more likely his agent Lucifer Boras, running away from the three offers the Dodgers have made while not once giving a counter, we have arrived at that point in the proceedings where the Dodgers need to look at other possibilities more seriously.

Some of the names being floated about are Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu. Garrett Anderson is still available and a local product. 

It's not as if there are no other options from Manny, it's just that he remains the best one. But not if they can't come to an agreement with him and his satanic representative.

There is no doubt the Dodger offense is much more potent with a happy Manny Ramirez in the three hole. The question is would the Dodgers be able to get that same Manny. The worst thing for L.A. would be for Manny to grudgingly accept $25 million for a year, then drag his tailfeathers around Dodger Stadium in an unhappy and disruptive manner.

Dodger fans saw the "Happy Manny" the last few months of the season. His being out of a bad situation in Boston, hitting near .400 and homering about once every three games while advancing in the playoffs would make anybody happy.

Often going back for seconds isn't as wonderful as it might sound. Manny's production was hot as lava as a Dodger in 2008, the chances are he would not hit as well in 2009. Obviously he's one of the best hitters ever, by far the best in the Dodger lineup last year.

Still, he could easily drop off from that production and lose some luster off his star. In an extreme case, the fans would get on Manny, booing and ragging on him incessantly. Talk radio would be beside themselves asking what is wrong with him.

The ink-stained wretches at the L.A. Times have many sharp knives and are just waiting to fillet Manny at a moments notice.

You don't think so? I remember what happened to Mike Marshall in 1975 after his Cy Young performance the year before. He was getting booed in May when coming out of the bullpen.

Everyone now lionizes Kirk Gibson, but there were plenty of boos in 1989 when an injured Gibby could barely drag himself onto the field, much less perform in his usual daredevil manner.

So, from that point of view, signing a one-year deal could be a significant risk for Manny. The problem for him is there is no one out there willing to give a 37-year-old outfielder with questionable defensive skills a four or five-year deal in this economy driven market.

Straight up, Boras screwed up big time by having Manny dump the options on his previous contract. Well, not for himself, since he didn't negotiate that deal and won't get paid until he gets a new deal for Manny.

Problem is, there isn't a new deal for Manny anywhere near where Lucifer projected it would be. The poor demon has nowhere near the level of humanity needed to admit his mistake.

However, he is doing his client a disservice by not accepting the realities of the current market. Manny could have a case for firing him and seeking damages for incompetent and delusional representation.

None of this solves the Dodgers need for a power bat however. Dodger owner Frank McCourt has indicated he would like to talk to Manny directly, but has not be afforded that chance as of yet. I'm confident Boras would not like to lose a significant element of control by having face-to-face discussions with the Dodger owner.

McCourt should sent word requesting a meeting within the next five days. If rebuffed, he need to move on to Plan B, which ever other outfielder Plan B may be. 

After considering the three candidates mentioned at the top of the article, Dunn and Abreu each have their positive qualities while Anderson numbers keep slipping and most likely has seen his best days pass.

Adam Dunn brings massive power numbers, at least 40 homers each of the last six years, over 100 RBI in five of those seasons. His strikeouts are prodigious enough to reverse global warming while his defense and speed are far from ideal.

Bobby Abreu is five years older and hasn't hit as many homers, yet is able to produce high RBI and hit near .300.  Has a history of good speed, though his stolen bases are down in the 20's the last few years after a career high of 40 in 2004 with the Phillies.

His defense is better than Dunn's and far better than Juan Pierre. That is not a ringing endorsement however.

Garrett Anderson the oldest of the three. He leads the Angel's All-Time list in games, at bats, hits, doubles, runs, RBI, extra base hits, and grounding into double plays. Which adds up to Anderson not being a spring chicken. He still hits about .290 with double digit home run totals for the last 12 seasons, but in the teens the last five.

Considering all aspects of these players, it looks like Dunn just might be the best choice, given his age and power. Abreu would be a very close second pick while Anderson would have to have a very reasonable price tag for the Dodgers to be willing to consider him.