Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Boras: Manny-Dodgers talks to continue
ESPN.com news services
Manny Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, says he expects to resume contract discussions with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, a day after rejecting the team's one-year, $25 million offer for the right-handed slugger, MLB.com reported.
Ramirez and Boras didn't respond to the Dodgers' earlier, two-year, $45 million contract offer and declined an offer of salary arbitration. And despite the slumping economy, Boras still expects that Ramirez, the best free agent without a job, still can land a multiyear deal.
According to the report, Boras noted that free agents CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira received huge contracts for seven and eight years, respectively. He said that supports Ramirez's desire for a longer deal from the Dodgers.
The Dodgers said Tuesday that they'd still like to see Ramirez return for a full season to Chavez Ravine, where he sparked the team to a National League West title after joining the Dodgers at midseason.
"We still have interest in signing Manny," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told ESPN.com on Tuesday, in the wake of Ramirez giving a thumbs-down to the one-year, $25 million offer the team made Monday.
"Right now we don't have a deadline," Colletti went on, "but that doesn't mean we're not going to have a deadline. These situations can change in an instant, and anybody can change them in an instant."
But Dodgers owner Frank McCourt also hinted that the club is unlikely to revisit a long-term offer to Ramirez.
"We came up with what we thought was a creative proposal to give him a lot of money, and well-deserved in a challenging economy, and give him flexibility if he feels it's important to test free agency next year," McCourt told reporters. "I don't see long-term contracts happening in this market we're in."
In a Wednesday interview with ESPN, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he hopes Ramirez returns to the team.
"We're a completely different club with him as opposed to without him," Torre said.
Torre said Ramirez adds a needed dynamic to the team, which is filled with young talent.
"He taught my young players how to have fun playing the game," Torre told ESPN.
Despite Ramirez's position as one of the greatest right-handed hitters in the game's history, the Dodgers are the only team known to have offered him a contract, although Boras has insisted that other teams -- which he will not identify -- are interested.
The economy, Ramirez's age -- he turns 37 on May 30 -- and the manner in which he forced his way out of Boston via trade last season are all seen as factors in the slow market for Ramirez.
And the Dodgers have not offered the multiyear deal that Ramirez wants.
McCourt said Tuesday the one-year, $25 million offer would have given Ramirez the second-highest single-season salary in the game's history while offering him a chance to explore free agency again next year, when it's hoped the nation's sagging economy will have improved.
McCourt also said that Boras had not given the Dodgers specific terms that would lead to a deal, according to MLB.com.
But Boras, according to MLB.com, said he has been "very specific in years" and "with the names of the group of players Manny is associated with, actually a group of one" -- referring to Barry Bonds, whose contract with the Giants ended when he was 42. "We've had 40 contacts with the Dodgers this winter involving various players, including talks about Manny, and three meetings involving Manny," Boras said.
Asked if he believes Ramirez will be signed by spring training, Boras said: "I don't really think about a timetable. Anything can be done any day. You just don't know," according to Yahoo! Sports.
Then, in an apparent shot at the Dodgers for giving him and Ramirez 48 hours to accept or reject their one-season deal, Boras said, "What I do know, you better watch out when you're playing chicken," according to the report.
ESPN.com senior baseball writer Jayson Stark and The Associated Press contributed to this report.