Most people agree Manny Ramirez is a terrific hitter. But he also has made it clear throughout his career that he really, really cares about money.
Manny left a comfortable situation in Cleveland in 2000 to sign with the the Red Sox because they offered him an insane amount of money. After seven great seasons and two titles in Boston, Manny fired his agent, hired Scott Boras and essentially dogged his way out of town.
Manny was upset that his contract included $20 million team options for 2009 and 2010. Believing he was worth more, he convinced Boston to trade him or suffer the consequences. The Dodgers took him under the condition they drop those options.
Now Manny is a free agent and only one team — the Dodgers — has made him an offer. Manny will sign with somebody, but it’s unlikely he’s going to get that five-year, $125 million deal he wanted. He’s not getting A-Rod money, that’s for sure.
The Yankees, based on what I have been told, have little interest in Ramirez. But there is a school of thought out there that the Yankees could swoop in at the last minute and get Manny on the cheap, say two years and $45 million. Maybe that’s possible. Maybe he’ll have to take what he can get and swallow his pride.
Here’s the question: How would Manny react to that? Money matters to every player, but it really seems to matter to him. If Manny perceives he’s underpaid, will he show up? Will he put a gun to Brian Cashman’s head in July like he did to Theo Epstein? How long before he fakes a knee injury? He demanded to be traded so often in Boston that it became a running joke.
The longer this drags out and the more irritated Ramirez gets, the more likely it becomes that he’s going to he a huge problem for whatever team signs him. Maybe not in spring training, maybe not in April or May. But eventually.
As a beat writer, I say bring him on. Manny makes for great copy and his antics will fill story after story. But the Yankees are crazy if they sign him.