So, What’s Really Going On Here?

Just when you think this story couldn’t possibly get any weirder (and more annoying)…

1) The Offer. On Wednesday, as you surely remember, the Dodgers put forth offer #4 to Manny Ramirez: two years at $45 million ($25m in 2009, $20m in 2010), with 2010 being a player option. This seemed like a great solution to this problem for both sides, because while the Dodgers were clearly overpaying, they kept it down to just two years (maybe even just one), and Manny gets an increase over his Boston options plus the ability to walk if he thinks he can get more elsewhere. I was in favor of it, Tony Jackson said “This is a good deal for both sides”, and ESPN’s Jayson Stark said that this is the best offer that Manny’s going to get. Plus, Scott Boras had made the request that year 2 be a player option, so why would he reject an offer he’s helping to craft? This was going to be the one that got it done.

2) The Rejection.

Jackson:

Apparently, a man who is having trouble finding work in a down economy has decided, yet again and with the help of his ever-so-earnest agent, that playing baseball for a year for $25 million or two years for $45 million is somehow beneath him.

3) MSTI’s Initial Reaction Upon Groggily Seeing the Email From Josh Rawitch This Morning Noting Manny Had Declined the Offer. “What! Are you f*#%ing kidding me! What the f*#^ more does he want! There’s no other team in the bidding! This is the worst economy in decades and being offered five times what Bobby Abreu got isn’t enough!? F*#&!! I’m so sick of Manny, just screw him and move on, but oh wait, we can’t because Abreu and Adam Dunn are both gone, and if Juan Pierre is playing left field every day I’m going to kill myself. And, Boras had requested the player option and he got it! So why is he rejecting the offer now! I can’t take this!”

And that, friends, is why I do not blog before coffee.

4) Frank McCourt’s Attempt at a Public Bitch Slap.

Dodgers press release, from Dodger Thoughts:

“We love Manny Ramirez,” said Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt, “And we want Manny back, but we feel we are negotiating against ourselves.  When his agent finds those ‘serious offers’ from other clubs, we’ll be happy to re-start the negotiations.

“Even with an economy that has substantially eroded since last November, out of respect for Manny and his talents, we actually improved our offer.

“So now, we start from scratch.”

The “serious offers” quip is obviously referring to Boras’ comment after the initial 2/$45m offer that he’d be looking forward to “serious offers” from other clubs. It’s pretty rare that you see such a public airing of dirty laundry here, but with Boras being so stubborn despite the generous offer in a lousy economy, you have to feel where McCourt is coming from, right?

Um, right?

5) Hold On, What Now?

Dylan Hernandez:

Reporting from Scottsdale, Ariz. — The Dodgers offered Manny Ramirez a two-year, $45-million contract that included a player option to void the second year.

Ramirez’s agent, Scott Boras, countered by proposing a two-year, $45-million contract that included a player option to void the second year.

Kudos to Hernandez here, because it’s not often I read the first two lines of a newspaper article and have my head explode like the guy from “Scanners”. But what in the hell would make Boras reject an offer he helped to craft – and then respond with the same offer? Well, as Hernandez tells us, it’s not the same:

What Colletti didn’t mention, the source said, is that most of Ramirez’s salary would’ve been deferred. Two other sources previously told The Times that the proposed deal included deferred payments.

Under the terms of the contract that Ramirez was offered by the Dodgers on Wednesday, he would’ve received $10 million this year. And by exercising the option for the second year, he would’ve received $10 million in 2010.

Ramirez, who turns 37 in May, would’ve been paid the remaining $25 million over the next three years without any added interest. He would’ve received $10 million in 2011, $10 million in 2012 and $5 million in 2013.

Well, there’s that. So if I’m reading this correctly, Boras has actually come down off his crazy 4/$108m demands, and he’s even accepted that three years are unlikely, and he’s willing to accept the Dodger terms of 2/$45m. He even offered that to you, Mr. McCourt. You’ve beaten Scott Boras at his own game, but now you’re trying to turn it into a rout by demanding he accept some of the money later? Look, I know we’re talking about figures that are silly money for most people, but for god’s sake, pay the man! Deferring that much money at zero interest means that the value of the deal isn’t actually $45 million – it’s some amount less. (How much? I don’t know, I’m not freaking Alan Greenspan over here. It’s less.)

And after I actually backed your strongly worded press release. You know what? I hate both sides right now.

6) As Usual, Bill Plaschke Has His Head Up His Ass.

This doesn’t really add to the Boras/McCourt dynamic, but it is fun to see that Plaschke’s woefully behind the curve of the ”deferred payment” story, even when a reporter at his own paper has the information:

This week, by every stretch of the wildest imagination, the Dodgers made Manny Ramirez a no-lose proposition.

By rejecting it Thursday, Ramirez has officially lost it.

He’s lost his dignity. He’s lost his perspective. He’s lost his marbles.

7) So, Now What (AKA, Now There’s a Deadline?)

Well, Barry Bloom is reporting that Boras says negotiations will continue today, but that there’s a 12pm noon Pacific deadline, which is approximately four hours from the time I hit ‘submit’ on this post. Right. Like they’re really going to cut off all contact in four hours – the Dodgers aren’t going to shut the door on the power bat they desperately need with no better options out there, and Boras isn’t going to cut off his only confirmed bidder.

Clearly, this isn’t the end of this story for today. But while I still believe that Manny ends up back in LA sooner or later, he’s no longer the only one looking greedy. Everyone attached to this debacle is looking bad right now.  

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