Manny Ramirez and His $40 Million Gamble

Dave DeVito@davidjdevitoContributor IJanuary 1, 2009

This time last year, Manny Ramirez was making a New Year’s resolution to be a better teammate, a more focused hitter, and a more press-friendly athlete.


Manny had clearly decided that he would behave and get his option picked up by the Red Sox before or, at the very least, by midseason.


In fact, on Feb. 9, 2008, Manny headed west to Arizona, where he participated in a rigorous offseason workout with friends Kevin Youkilis and Nick Punto.


According to the Boston Globe, “He looks ripped and ready to defend the world championship.”


Then in late February, Manny decided to hedge his bet, and fired his agent in favor of “super agent” Scott Boras. Even though, technically, he was under a contract that made it so he had no power to renegotiate for two more years.


The 2008 season, and the Manny mayhem that followed, have been documented Ad nauseam, so we will skip the semantics. 


Perhaps the reports of shock that Ramirez felt after the July 31st deadline deal that sent him packing were exaggerated. And, perhaps, as his agent suggests, it was untrue that Manny offered to agree to behave himself in exchange for the Sox not picking up his 2009 option.


But, one thing is certain, Manny Ramirez, and all of his antics left two, $20 million options for 2009 and 2010 on the table. Not many people are ever in the position to scoff at $40 Million, but nevertheless, Manny was.


Now it’s 2009, and it is curious what Manny’s new resolution is.


With several reported deals having disappeared and the Dodgers having pulled their multi-year offer off of the table, Mr. Ramirez has to be wondering if Manny economics actually rivals Bush’s economics in its futility.


The most logical, and likely, suitors were the Yankees. Now, having signed numerous long term, high dollar deals with a series of free agents that are not Manny, the Yanks seem to have moved past signing Ramirez and all of the risks associated with him.


This has to be the most devastating news to Ramirez, who is from the Bronx and has, much to the chagrin of Red Sox Nation, hinted heavily that playing for the Yankees has always been in his plans. After all, you don’t hire Boras to play in Kansas City for a year.


Scott Boras has changed demands so many times for the perennial All-Star that almost no one even remembers the promises of a six-year contract or even those of a four-year contract for the 36-year old superstar.


Manny’s expressed desire for a four-year, $100 million contract hasn’t exactly helped his case either, thus far.


Now, it is likely that the Dodgers, for whom he played at super human levels for two plus months, are now the only team in the race.


LA’s original offer of two years at $45 million is the only deal that would have exceeded Ramirez’ original deal in Boston and now it is unlikely that the Dodgers will re-extend that offer.


All of this begs the question; If Manny could be Manny all over again in 2008, would he have embraced a Boston front office that, even after more than seven years of Mannyisms, was still willing to bring back Ramirez and honor a contract that the current management, themselves, would never have signed?


Probably not, after all Manny being Manny isn’t a choice, it’s an addiction. One that has cost him $40 million so far…


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