The Los Angeles Dodgers made Manny Ramirez a one-year, $25 million offer Monday, according to a baseball source, a substantial departure from the two-year, $45 million offer they extended in November at the general manager meetings.
The two-year offer was rejected by Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, and pulled from the table by the Dodgers several weeks later. However, it was widely anticipated that the Dodgers would be willing to sign the popular slugger under those terms, which included a $15 million salary in 2009, $22 million in 2010 with a team option and an $8 million buyout for 2011.
The new offer bumps up the 2009 salary considerably, but that's it. Ramirez had $20 million club options for 2009 and 2010 in his previous contract, but had those eliminated when he was traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Dodgers at the trading deadline.
Playing before smitten fans who honored him with faux dreadlocks and rousing cheers, Ramirez batted .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 53 games for the Dodgers. He then batted .520 and hit four more home runs in the playoffs, carrying the organization to its first NLCS appearance since it won the 1988 World Series. Ramirez finished fourth (behind Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard and Ryan Braun) in NL MVP voting.
Along the way, Ramirez said over and over he was simply happy to be away from the Red Sox and out of Boston, where he'd felt cramped by his stardom, and lobbied publicly for the Dodgers to re-sign him. As a condition of his trade and in preparation for what he assumed would be an active and fruitful free agency, Ramirez left the Dodgers clubhouse in late October saying, “Gas is up and so am I.”
He hit free agency going on 37, however, and with a feeling among general managers that his defense was better suited for the American League (where he wouldn't have to play it at all) and simmering front-office concerns about the manner in which he left the Red Sox.
The only other team to express interest in Ramirez has been the San Francisco Giants, and they are not known to have made an offer.
Although the Dodgers offer is as short as it could get, Ramirez's salary would be higher than any other player besides Alex Rodriguez.
- the Dodgers