Dear Manny Ramirez: Shut Up and Play

Zeke Fuhrman@@mellamoelzekeAnalyst IIIFebruary 28, 2009

Dear Manny,

First off, I would like to congratulate you on a magnificent career: nine Silver Slugger Awards, 12 All-Star Games, 11 top-18 finishes in MVP voting, two Hank Aaron Awards, two World Series rings, and you've led the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs at some point during your career.

Secondly, I must ask you the question America is wondering:

What is your problem?

Spring Training has started, and you remain unsigned. The Dodgers have offered you a two-year/$45 million contract. How many 36-year-olds do you know that make that much?

You made $19 million last season, more than every other 36-year old in the Majors. Carlos Delgado and Andy Pettitte made $16 million, Garrett Anderson made $12 million, and Jason Varitek made $11 million.

Pettitte, Anderson, and Varitek were all free agents last off-season. Pettitte signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal, Anderson signed a one year, $2.5 million deal, and Varitek signed a one year, $5 million deal.

The Dodgers have offered you a two year, $45 million deal. reports that you want your $45 million over two years (22.5 each year), but LA wants to give you the money over five years (nine each year).

I don't know how they teach math in Dominican schools, but you will get all your money in the end.

Is it because you don't want to play for the Dodgers?

You hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 53 games as a Dodger (you hit .299 with 20 home runs and 68 RBIs in 100 games in Boston).

You were worshipped in Dodgertown. They Dodgers were 54-54 and 2.0 games back when they acquired you from Boston. They finished as NL West Champions with an 84-78 record, and swept the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs.

Yet the Dodgers weren't respected. Seven teams (CHC, PHI, MIL, NYM, STL, HOU, FLA) had better records than the Dodgers, but you still made the playoffs being NL West Champions. You have a chance to go back to LA, and prove that you weren't a fluke.

The Dodgers went on a free-agent binge last off-season, they signed Randy Wolf, Brad Ausmus, Doug Mientkiewicz, Orlando Hudson, Mark Loretta, Guillermo Mota, and Claudio Vargas.

They brought back Casey Blake and Rafeal Furcal. Their only key losses were losing SP Derek Lowe to free agency, and Jeff Kent and Greg Maddux to retirement.

That is where you come in. The Dodgers' rotation looks weak, which means they will need lots of runs. You can still produce. You have a chance to recreate your image.

Manny can't afford to be Manny right now. Manny needs to get into camp, and lead the Dodgers to another division title, and make a run at the World Series.

Instead of holding out for a few extra million dollars (you've made an estimated $162 million during your career), get into camp and secure your legacy.

You had an excellent chance to turn a new leaf in LA, to show that Manny was being the new Manny. But now we see it was just an act.

Manny is still Manny.