Regular reader Nick from across the pond posted the 7,500th comment here at The Heartland this morning. Congratulations, Nick! You’ve won a virtual washer and dryer combination set, plus a free tour around the blog.
“Nowhere Man, don’t worry. Take your time, don’t hurry. Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand.” –The Beatles, “Nowhere Man”
Dan Graziano at The Star-Ledger has a very good piece online discussing where the free agent market now stands for Manny Ramirez, especially after Mark Teixeira has agreed to a deal with the Yankees. While a plausible consideration might be the Mets, Graziano contends that had the Mets wanted him so badly, they would have dealt for him last July. To him, they just don’t want him on the team. The best part of Graziano’s article is his analysis of the ramifications of Teixeira’s signing on Ramirez–both Boras clients. Since several teams in the market for a power bat probably had both Teixeira and Ramirez on their respective radars, the Yanks’ landing Teixeira hurt Ramirez and Boras’s negotiating positions. The Red Sox won’t sign Ramirez for the obvious reason of his tanking it to get out of the remainder of his contract. The Angels have already said (truthfully or not) that “Manny will not be on the Angels.” Meanwhile, the Orioles and Nationals wanted Teixeira not only because he is very good, but also because he’s from the Baltimore area, making him a hometown draw. The Mets loom but are at best (from Ramirez’s standpoint) lurking in the shadows, at worstnot interested.
From the standpoint of contractual value, Graziano persuasively argues that the best scenario for Ramirez and Boras would have been for Teixeira to sign with the Red Sox, the likely result of which would have been that the Yankees would (GULP!) signed Ramirez. Each client would have made out, as would have Boras. Now, Ramirez and Boras are left to ponder how wise it was to turn down the $45 million over two years that the Dodgers offered–the same per season, albeit with a shorter duration, as the younger Teixeira will make with the Yankees. Granted, the shifting tectonics of the market seemed to catch Ramirez and Boras in a vice of desire for a better fit on the one side, and an apparent aversion to Ramirez’s selfish antics on the other. Perhaps that was something they couldn’t have foreseen.
I don’t quite agree with that. I think the major factor here was Ramirez’s poor, self-centered behavior culminating in his outright quitting on the Red Sox last year–not for the first time, I’d contend. I firmly believe and always will that he also quit on Boston in the last weeks of 2006. Who would want to gamble tens of millions on a guy whose demeanor ranges from destructively fickle to playful to assaulting to sulking? The Yankees, according to Graziano, would have been willing to endure his nonsense and, unlike most teams, would have had the cash to make such an unpalatable move possible. Now Ramirez and Boras are left to ponder–like the dog in the fable that dropped its bone in the pond to grab the bigger one, only to find out it was a reflection of what it already held–whether they have missed good opportunities in Boston and LA, places willing to put up with his tired, inane act for big bucks. They are left on the defensive in negotiations with LA or any other team. Also worth considering is whether or not the Teixeira-to-New York twist will possibly exacerbate in the coming years that which has been worst in Ramirez–his seemingly limitless capacity for self-centered, destructive behavior, fueled by the misguided sentiment that the market–and not his own actions–have thus far landed him with no one.
Ramirez, this winter’s Nowhere Man. Thank goodness the Yankees signed Teixeira for his own attributes, and avoided Ramirez and all his baggage.