Though everyone seems to be most eager to figure out where CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira are going to land, I've been more mesmerized by Manny Ramirez's future, even if the dearth of slugger news out there is starting to rival the lack of updates on a new Lauryn Hill album.
As reported by ESPN's Buster Olney earlier today, it's quite possible that Ramirez and agent Scott Boras will find the free agent pool so bone dry that they could be humbled into accepting the Dodgers' arbitration offer by the Dec. 7 deadline.
While making such a move could pay him up to $30 million for just one year of work, it'd be a far cry from the multi-year, nine-digit contract they thought they would attract in the offseason. As it stands, the only offer they've seen is a 2-year, $45 million deal from the Dodgers that insulted Man-Ram's sensibilities and was later officially pulled from the club. Meanwhile, GM Ned Colletti reportedly hasn't talked to Ramirez since Election Day.
From Buster's blog:
"The Dodgers now are perfectly positioned. They have twice dangled Ramirez opportunities for record-setting contracts — the first being the $45 million offer, which would have established a new standard for outfielders, and the second being the arbitration. If Ramirez accepts the arbitration, the Dodgers would have only a one-year obligation on the aging slugger, and while none of the Dodgers staffers would ever say it out loud, keeping Ramirez on a one-year deal, with the carrot of free agency in front of him, might be the best way to keep him running hard."
As Olney notes, there aren't too many top-flight teams that would interested in acquiring Ramirez's services, nor should the Dodgers be interested in bidding against themselves. It's possible that a team like the Nationals could enter the bidding, but with other cheaper and problem-free corner outfielders like Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn on the market, Ramirez and Boras aren't going to come close to creating a feeding frenzy among power-starved teams.
Personally, I don't think Ramirez would accept the "defeat" of accepting arb and I still have a hunch the Yankees might get jilted by their targets and are going to become involved in this whole charade as a face-saver, even though they already have enough outfielders and declined arbitration on Bobby Abreu so they might save a few dollars.
No, it wouldn't make any sense at all for them to enter the Man-Ram Derby, but that has never stopped them before, has it? That said, I still think Ramirez and the Dodgers work out a 2-3 year deal at the end, because it's the only place he can truly fit in and be accepted.
Discuss among yourselves: Where do you think Manny Ramirez will end up?