GLENDALE, Ariz. – Four months into negotiations he called “interminable” and clearly irked they have bled into the opening of the spring training facility he'll share with the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said Sunday morning the club would resume talks with free agent Manny Ramirez as early as Monday, but without regard to previous negotiations.
The Dodgers have made four offers to Ramirez, including arbitration. Ramirez has turned them all down. Agent Scott Boras has countered three times on Ramirez's behalf, most recently announcing Ramirez would accept $45 million over two years, with none of the money deferred.
Though the sides would appear to be close – the Dodgers' last offer was for $45 million, but with $25 million deferred without interest – McCourt insisted the club would not re-enter negotiations believing it had only that small ground to cover.
“We're going to start from scratch,” he said.
He spoke instead of Friday's passing deadline. He labeled Boras' subsequent complaints about the deferred money as “disingenuous,” considering, he said, it was Boras who originally suggested the tactic in order to improve the contract's top line.
“It's a side show, a smoke screen,” McCourt said. “Call it what you will.”
The sides traded snippy press releases late last week and the rancor hadn't died in the owner's office by Sunday afternoon, hours before the first game at Camelback Ranch. In fact, McCourt said, the reason he had his public relations department issue a press release indicating Boras had rejected the offer was “to let Manny know," suggesting Boras might not be telling his client everything.
McCourt even hinted the Dodgers have made their best offer.
“Every day things are changing and we need to be mindful of that,” he said. “We've made four offers since November. And, you know what, the world isn't anything like the way it was in November.”
Boras and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti spoke briefly Saturday. Colletti said there'd been “no progress” made.
Asked if he weren't allowing his emotions to cloud negotiations, McCourt responded, “If it were, I wouldn't share it with you. It's fair to say I'm a little frustrated. … It's a distraction.”