(In a matter of days, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is expected to barter with Scott Boras, to retain the services of his client, Manny Ramirez.)
Ned, if you really want Manny, you’re going to need some creativity in your negotiation strategy.
Here are a few tips from the textbooks, and beyond:
(1) Don’t deadlock, though that will be the temptation. Pundits have predicted that you’ll inevitably take a position in favor of a short contractual LENGTH. That’s merely one dimension of the overall deal. Please recall, you offered a very short two-year term to this year’s no show, Andruw Jones. did it make a difference in his results? did he try harder to impress?
(2) But if we must talk contractual length, let’s do it in a new and creative manner. Peg the length of the deal to objective results, based on performance. If Manny hits over .300 and drives in 100 runs in what would be his last year under your most favored terms, he qualifies for a locked-in, added year. And the following year if he does the same or better, he gets yet one more year. Heck, offer him a seven year deal subject to this condition: until his stats decline below the minimal thresholds you establish, he gets to keep playing, and you get to keep paying. Of course, you’ll boilerplate the agreement with provisos, including minimum number of at-bats per year, etc. But in the final analysis, his TALENT and CONTRIBUTIONS determine contractual length.
(3) If you’re concerned about the predicted return of Many being Manny, a clubhouse scourge, you can also add a team performance standard. If the Dodgers do not make it to the postseason with a certain amount of regularity, the agreement can be terminated after say, three seasons.
As you know, negotiation is a win/win proposition when it is conducted well.
Manny should pay for himself, and then some. And the Dodgers should make him the sweetest possible deal, while lining their coffers through ticket, concession, and collateral sales.
And above all, the fans should get value, which means getting their Manny.
There’s all this talk in the press about Manny Ramirez’s punishment for testing positive for drugs.
He’ll lose fifty games during which he could homer aplenty and set personal records.
He’ll forego about $7 million in salary.
And he’ll make the Wait and see pundits in Boston and elsewhere cackle with joy over their prediction that his feet would slide in due time, as Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards might have predicted it, centuries earlier.
But that’s not the worst of it.
The greatest punishment for Manny, whose dreadlocks glow in the Chavez Ravine spotlight, could be irrelevance.
Except for an upcoming trip to compete against relatively strong Eastern Division
teams, the Dodgers are expected to keep beating up their typical rivals: the Giants, Diamondbacks, Padres, and Rockies.
In fact, Dodger management couldn’t have planned this any better if their goal was to make their young stars elevate their level of play, permanently. The kids get a chance to strut their stuff without Manny’s big bat and swagger in the third spot.
If the likes of Ethier and Kemp keep hitting, and Martin heats up, Manny will be just another guest at the banquet around the All-Star break.
Nice you could make it will be the words he’ll hear, the subtext being, but you didn’t have to show-up. We’re doing just fine.
And just like that, Manny will feel every bit like a parent at his offspring’s wedding, about to be officially shoved off into obscurity.
Oh, yeah, the Hall of Fame might forget to welcome Manny, too. But being spurned means someone is paying attention.
Being ignored, means you have become irrelevant, and there’s nothing worse than that if you have been a creature basking in the blue limelight.
PHOENIX (CBS/AP) – Manny Ramirez and the Oakland Athletics have reached agreement on a minor league contract.
The A’s announced the deal Monday. Ramirez is expected to report to spring training by the end of the week.
Ramirez’ contract is worth approximately $500,000, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said Monday.
ESPN first reported earlier Mondaythat the sides had reached agreement, speaking directly to Ramirez. The person confirmed the sides were closing in on a contract, speaking on condition of anonymity because Ramirez had to take a physical and likely another drug test.
The A’s made public their interest in the 12-time All-Star, who is due to serve a 50-game suspension for his second positive drug test before he can play for Oakland. Barring rainouts, his first game could be may 30 — on his 40th birthday.
He has been working out in Florida this winter, so he will now travel to Arizona to join his new team — probably in time for Oakland’s first full-squad workout Saturday.
Ramirez was expected to sign a minor league deal, which would keep him off the 40-man roster. For the low-budget A’s, Ramirez presents a low-risk bargain. They don’t have to pay him during his suspension and will give him per diem money during the club’s stint in the desert, which is shorter than usual because of two opening games in Japan next month.
Oakland sent representatives to Florida this winter to watch workouts by Ramirez, who retired from the Tampa Bay Rays last season rather than serve a 100-game suspension. For Ramirez, this could become a chance to help repair his reputation and serve as a positive clubhouse influence on a young team.
The A’s recently agreed to terms on a $36 million, four-year contract with highly regarded outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, a Cuban defector who has expressed interest in playing with Ramirez.
At baseball’s winter meetings in December, it was announced that Ramirez had applied for reinstatement. he had his suspension for a second failed drug test cut to 50 games because he sat out nearly all of last season. MLB had announced his retirement on April 8, saying he was notified “of an issue” under the drug program.
Ramirez ranks 14th on the career list with 555 home runs. he went 1 for 17 (.059) in five games last season for Tampa Bay, which had signed him to a one-year deal worth $2.02 million.
This will be the 20th major league season for Ramirez, a career .312 hitter with 1,831 RBIs.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. all Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)
Fans were introduced to some of the A’s new players during FanFest on Sunday, but the most high-profile newcomer might still be on the way.
Assistant general manager David Forst acknowledged the possibility of signing designated hitter Manny Ramirez during a fan question-and-answer session.
“We’re open to it,” Forst told an announced crowd of more than 7,000 inside Oracle Arena. “We do have other things going on, and we expect other additions between now and opening day. We have never been in a situation where we had too many good players.”
It was the first public acknowledgment by anyone in the A’s baseball operations that Ramirez is an option. A’s co-owner Lew Wolff said last week that he was receptive to signing Ramirez, who would have to serve a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy for a second time.
Were the A’s to sign him, Ramirez would become eligible for a may 30 game at Minnesota. He turns 40 that day.
“I think at this point it’s probably still speculation,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ” … There’s probably some momentum to it, but certainly not anything that I’m in position right now to comment on.”
McCarthy, 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA and five complete games in 2011, is the top returning starter from a rotation that lost Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez to trades.
“If I earned that honor, I’d be thrilled to have it,” McCarthy said.
Recently signed Bartolo Colon probably will draw the second start in the two-game series in Tokyo.
Although Dallas Braden hopes to be ready by opening day, Melvin said mid- to late-April is a more realistic timetable as the left-hander returns from shoulder surgery. Braden is scheduled to throw off a mound Monday for the first time since getting a torn shoulder capsule repaired in may.
That makes three rotation spots open, with the contenders including Tyson Ross and Graham Godfrey and newcomers Tom Milone, Jarrod Parker and Brad Peacock.
Brandon Allen, Chris Carter and Kila Ka’aihue also are in the mix at first base.
“I was like, ‘They’ve got a plan,’ ” Weeks said. “I didn’t know what the plan was, but they’ve got a plan, and I’m on board for whatever they got going on.”
Gomes was asked if it is tough fitting a hat over his head.
“I just squish it down,” he said. “I think Coco’s is taller than mine.”
Manny Ramirez plans to work out for major league teams in an effort to return to the major leagues, a source told ESPN the Magazine’s Buster Olney last week.
Don’t expect the Los Angeles Dodgers to be among his suitors.
“Not really,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, when asked if the team had any interest in Ramirez. “To me, and I love Manny, but the last time I felt like he was a huge distraction and I don’t think that’s what this club needs at this point. we don’t need a DH. You gotta play (outfield) in this league and I don’t know if he can play in this league anymore.”
Ramirez retired in April after being hit with a 100-game ban for a second violation of baseball’s drug policy. he was reinstated from baseball’s voluntary retirement list last month, after agreeing to serve a 50-game ban rather than the 100-game ban stipulated for repeat offenders.
His suspension will begin as soon as he signs with any team.
Last month, Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas that he made a mistake in using banned performance-enhancing substances and retiring without providing any explanation. he said he is in the best physical shape of the past three years.
“Every day that goes by I regret the decisions I made by following bad advice,” Ramirez said. “We are human, we make mistakes, we are not perfect. Everybody deserves a chance to show he has changed.”
Mattingly said he could see the 39-year-old slugger playing again, in the right situation. But he had decidedly mixed emotions on whether he thought that would be a good thing.
“I can see him hitting for the right club,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think he needs to play again, but I could see him playing again.”
When asked if his reservations about Ramirez returning to the big leagues are because of his repeated violations of baseball’s drug policy, Mattingly said:
“I don’t know. I just remember him as a kid. I saw him as a kid at 19, his first at-bats in Yankee Stadium, I hate to see it end with what happened last year. So maybe he should play a little bit and throw up some numbers and retire. I’d rather see him go away and be happy with a pretty good career.”
Ramirez had a second half for the ages with the Dodgers in 2008, hitting .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in just 53 games after coming over in a mid-season trade from the Boston Red Sox.
He re-signed with the club before the 2009 season, but got off on a terrible foot when he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance. Ramirez hit .290 with 19 home runs and 63 RBIs the rest of the 2009 season as the Dodgers advanced to their second straight National League Championship Series.
The Dodgers waived Ramirez midway through the 2010 season. he was claimed by the Chicago White Sox but hit just .261 with one home run and two RBIs in 24 games with the White Sox.
He played just five games for the Tampa Bay Rays last year before testing positive for a banned substance again, and then retiring.
Ramona Shelburne is a reporter and columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Follow Ramona Shelburne on Twitter: @ramonashelburne