Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Sources: Giants can't afford Manny
By Jayson Stark
As hard as Scott Boras may be trying to portray the San Francisco Giants as serious bidders for Manny Ramirez, it's even harder to find executives in baseball who believe that.
According to one source familiar with the Giants' thinking, just about every recent rumor connecting the Giants with Manny is "unfounded" or "baloney."
"If a million things came together over the next few weeks, would it be possible? Maybe," the source told ESPN.com. "But for where [Boras] is right now and where the team is right now, it doesn't make sense economically and it doesn't make sense for how the team fits together."
Sources tell ESPN.com that in a conversation with the Dodgers last Friday, Boras continued to talk about five-year and four-year deals worth upward of $25 million a year. That caused the Dodgers to turn their attention away from Ramirez and back to the bullpen market, where they're pursuing a group that includes Trevor Hoffman, Juan Cruz, Dennys Reyes and Guillermo Mota.
And the Giants, according to multiple sources, have no interest in pursuing Ramirez or any other free agent looking for large dollars and multiple years. Even reports connecting them with free-agent third baseman Joe Crede, another Boras client, have been exaggerated, sources say.
Industry sources estimate that the Giants' payroll, with no other additions or subtractions, is already likely to be north of $85 million -- and would be more than $90 million if you include deferred money owed to Barry Bonds. That's already significantly higher than last year's payroll (about $77 million) and close to the highest in team history.
So signing Ramirez would push them well beyond $100 million. And multiple sources indicate there is virtually no scenario that would allow them to maintain a payroll in that range.
"They fit because they need the bat," one NL executive said. "They're one hitter away from being a real good team. But how do they go to $100 million to add that bat? I don't think there's any way that happens."
Jayson Stark is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com.