I honestly don't think Manny Ramirez will be on a Major League Baseball team when the 2009 season commences on April 5.
Ramirez rejected a two-year, $45 million offer from the Dodgers on Thursday evening. This was an increase from L.A.'s original offer of two years, $37.5 million and an extension of the team's second attempt that was put on the table at one year, $25 million.
I think Ramirez and his slimy, Gollum-like agent Scott Boras will hold out until they see a three-year deal in front of them at the very least.
Manny is content with being Manny, and if that means prolonging his offseason vacation in whatever Latin America country he is sipping on umbrella drinks in, I'm sure he won't mind having another round.
I really do believe Ramirez could sit out for the first few months of the season because he is that lazy. Seriously, you've seen the guy play left field; some days he isn't even worthy of a spot on a men's softball league roster.
Maybe if he was the designated hitter.
When Manny steps into that batter's box, it's all business. There is no denying the guy can flat-out rake. Ramirez is one of the top-three hitters in the game, and you could argue even the best. If anyone can get away with missing spring training or more and come back as a ballistic ball-basher, it is Manny.
I think he will take advantage of a few extra siestas in the early stages of 2009 and then see which team really needs him. As clubhouses, rosters, and injuries begin to shake out, the demand for Manny will increase. If Ramirez somehow stays out until the All-Star break, then he could be auctioned to the highest playoff-contending bidder.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said that he feels that his organization is "negotiating against (themselves)" at this stage of the game. He is right, and every time they throw out another offer, the price tag for Manny keeps inflating.
If Los Angeles does finally land the biggest fish in the free agent pool, they will win the NL West. If the San Francisco Giants (the other team supposedly shopping in Manny's Market) make a push, they will take the division. All that club needs is one bat in the lineup with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Randy Johnson taking the mound every few days.
Again, I don't expect to see Ramirez lacing up any cleats until at least a few weeks into the season. And the longer Manny sits, the more rested he will be for a playoff run and October.