MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reported earlier this week that Dodger manager Joe Torre plans to give LF Manny Ramirez some time off this season, an interesting plan considering Manny had a 50 game unpaid vacation in 2009. In the considered view of the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin, this is less about Manny Being Manny and mostly points to Ramirez being unemployed in 2011 (“given the absence of a market for Ramirez over the last two winters as well as the suspension and the decline in his production last season, who’s to say he even gets a contract offer?”)
If Scott Boras has leverage, he does not hesitate to use it. In 2006, J.D. Drew told everyone he planned to return to the Dodgers. Boras showed Drew how there was more money to be made in free agency, then asked the Dodgers how they might sweeten Drew’s contract. So Drew opted out of his contract with the Dodgers and signed with the Boston Red Sox.
Boras had absolutely no leverage with Ramirez, even with the opt-out clause, and he let Ramirez know that. He also let Ramirez know there would be no DH job awaiting him. Boras didn’t even try asking the Dodgers to sweeten the contract, because he and the Dodgers knew there was no chance Ramirez could get anything close to $20 million anywhere else.
Ramirez might not have gotten a contract anywhere else. After he hit .396 in that monster two-month run with the Dodgers in August and September 2008, how many teams besides the Dodgers extended him a contract offer? None.
So how many teams do you think might have extended him a contract offer this winter, with the baggage of his 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy? None.