The Greatest Typo In The History Of The Universe

A caption from today’s My Way Sports News (typo highlighted below): 

Borasm2009.png
Now I’ve had several nicknames for this guy before, as you have too, I’m sure.  From Bora$$, to the devil himself, while I usually just liked calling him Bebe Glazer.  But this one tops it, I think.  It’s wrong, dirty, and yet hilarious.  From now on, I hereby dub the agent formerly known as Scott Boras as: 

Borasm. 

Tell all your friends.  It’s the latest craze.  Is it a bird?  No.  Is it a plane?  No.  Is it the Borasm?  Yes! 

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg

I Have Bad News and Worse News

Bad News: As I mentioned yesterday, this whole “making me sympathize with Scott Boras” thing needs to stop, now-ish. Because it’s really making me feel dirty. The kind of dirt that just a shower won’t wash off; we’re talking a full bio-hazard cleansing here, complete with guys in radiation suits spraying you with pressure washers as your clothes are incinerated and the ashes launched into space.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – Scott Boras is not the “good guy” here. It’s his own stubbornness and refusal to see the truth that’s gotten us to this point. As ESPN’s Jayson Stark astutely noted,

When you’re mixed up in a major free-agent negotiation with Scott Boras, you know it’s going to take a really … really … really … long … time. So you know you’re going to need patience, patience, more patience and also, well, patience. But on this Manny Ramirez front, Boras has outdone himself, even by his own slow-mo standards. Think about this. On Wednesday, it will be exactly four months since the Dodgers offered Manny a two-year, $45 million contract.

And now, FOUR MONTHS LATER, what are these two sides still talking about? A two-year, $45 million contract. Is this the theater of the absurd, or what? How many weeks ago, how many months ago, would an agent who was a deal-maker have gotten this done? But not this agent. He’s so obsessed with squeezing every last non-deferred penny out of this contract that he has somehow allowed the offseason, for this player, to extend into March.

So it’s pretty clear that Boras could have avoided this whole mess months ago had he merely accepted the reality of the situation. But, as we all know, the sides are merely $1.5 million apart now, and Boras made what seems to be a reasonable counteroffer, as I noted yesterday. And what was Frank McCourt’s response?

Because he said so.

That was more or less the reason Dodgers owner Frank McCourt gave Sunday morning for refusing to consider a proposal made to him by Manny Ramirez’s agent, which differed from an offer the Ramirez camp made last week only in the timing of the payments.

“He won’t even consider it.” Surely, there must be a mistake. I like Dylan Hernandez a lot, but he had to have misheard here; why would McCourt just ignore an offer after he gave Boras such grief for doing the same?

But why not consider the offer when the two sides appear to be so close?

“Because we’re going to start from scratch,” McCourt said.

But why start from scratch when you’re so close?

“I answered it twice,” McCourt said.

Oh. Well, now I understand. What exactly are you trying to do? You have Boras down to just about your offer; are you trying to drive Manny into the arms of the Giants? This is getting ridiculous, and not only because I feel like I’ve made the same post four days in a row. Yes, Frank, you hate Scott Boras. WE GET IT. We all do, no argument there. But you know what I’d hate to see more? Manny Ramirez, starting left fielder for the San Francisco Giants, hitting a ball so hard to left field that it collapses the head of Juan Pierre, starting left fielder for the Dodgers. (Well, okay. There’s some part of me that wouldn’t hate that. Love you, Juan!) So please, Frank. I’m begging you. We all are. Enough with trying to run up the score, and enjoy your victory. Just end this already.

ivandejesus.jpgWorse News: As mentioned in several places, shortstop prospect Ivan DeJesus, Jr., broke his left leg on a play at the plate in this morning’s game and is likely out for the season. While the Dodgers still have pretty nice depth behind Rafael Furcal in Chin-Lung Hu, Tony Abreu, Mark Loretta, and possibly even Blake DeWitt, this is a pretty big blow for the man named as the Dodgers #2 prospect by Baseball Prospectus. Reaching Triple-A, as he almost certainly would have this year, at 21 would have been pretty impressive, and although he’s still young, losing an entire year of development is a killer. Besides, look at the “bad” section from that BP report:

He has slightly above-average speed, but there is some concern that he’ll play his way off of shortstop if he loses a step or two, which would downgrade his projection dramatically.

Let’s hope that this broken leg doesn’t take away any of that speed, for his sake and ours. And yeah, that might not be the greatest picture in the world of him… but I didn’t want to jump on the “Shea Hillenbrand sliding into second base” train that everyone else did.

It’s Time to Move On

On Sunday, the Dodgers offered Manny Ramirez $25 million for one year, which would be the highest yearly salary in team history and make him the second highest paid player in baseball in 2009. After all that’s gone on with the economy, his age and defense, and his personal history, it was an immensely fair offer – perhaps even too much, since there were no other offers out there.

87toppsmannyramirez.jpgYet this morning, it was roundly rejected by Captain Evil, Scott Boras. I suppose that a rejection is a step up from just completely ignoring the Dodgers’ previous offers of arbitration and $45 million over two years, but this is different. Those offers took place way back in November, before the true extent of how bad this free agent market would be was really known. At the time, no one expected either offer to be accepted – but we’re now about two weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to not-Vero Beach. This business with Manny needs to get wrapped up, now-ish.

The question, therefore, is: how much is enough? $25 million over one year apparently wasn’t. $45 million over two years wasn’t. As much as I’d like Manny back on this team, I have absolutely zero inclination to go over $25 million/year or over two years when there is just no other market for him right now. Perhaps Boras really does have another team out there; maybe he doesn’t. The point is that there’s no reason to bid against yourself, and I’m satisfied that Ned Colletti has done his due diligence in getting Manny re-signed. (I know!

Remember, the problem isn’t waiting for Manny. The problem is having your backup plans melt away as the spring approaches, and it looks like that’s starting to happen. Adam Dunn has a standing offer from Washington; Bobby Abreu was just offered a one year, $8 million deal from the White Sox. What happens if they tire of waiting for Manny and each take the money they can right now? Then this team is stuck in one of two equally dreadful situations: having to pay Manny whatever he demands, or having to forgo Manny entirely and start Juan Pierre in left field.

Besides – and again, I do want to sign Manny if we can - would I really be all that crushed by not having to tie up $25-$30 million in one older player, especially when the Dodgers can be the Yankees of the remaining free agent market as one of the few teams with money and holes? Look at what both Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal had to say this morning.

Olney:

I also don’t think Dodgers’ executives will lose a lot of sleep if he turns down the offer, because they appear to be the only team with $30 million or so available to spend, and with that kind of money, they can do a lot of damage in this depressed free agent market. Think about it: with $30 million, they could probably sign Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu, plus Randy Wolf, plus Ben Sheets.  

Rosenthal:

The Dodgers could sign outfielder Adam Dunn, second baseman Orlando Hudson and left-hander Randy Wolf for the amount of money they are offering left fielder Manny Ramirez — maybe less.

Three quality free agents for the price of one 36-year-old superstar — not a bad exchange.

The Dodgers, suitably intrigued by the possibility, are talking to the representatives of each of those players, major-league sources say.

Think about that for a second. No, Adam Dunn is certainly not Manny Ramirez. But for the price of one Manny, you could add the best non-Manny hitter and the two best starting pitchers available? It’s something to consider. As for Hudson, I don’t see the point in giving up a first-round pick to block Blake DeWitt; but then what if signing Hudson for second base meant that you could package DeWitt along with some young pitching for Jake Peavy? I know I’d be okay with having Dunn and Hudson rather than Manny and DeWitt if the rotation went Billingsley/Peavy/Wolf-or-Sheets/Kuroda/Kershaw.

So let’s finish this. Let’s say to Manny and Boras, “there will be no more offers. We’ve given you three different proposals to accept (one year, two year, arbitration) and you’ve turned down all three. We can’t risk losing out on everyone else. You’re free to choose between any of the offers we’ve made until such time as we sign Dunn or Abreu, and then we’re pulling all interest.”

If that means that Manny ends up somewhere else for more money, so be it – I don’t want to pay him more than has already been offered. If that means Manny ends up somewhere else for less money, that’s fine too – it means that the Dodgers did all they could and Boras just completely screwed his client.

Besides, could you imagine what a nightmare it would be if Manny had to sign in San Francisco and their cold, windy pitcher’s park for $8 million per year less than Los Angeles offered? You think you’ve seen Manny throw a fit before, you just wait for that. 

Let’s Get On With This Already

Dear Mr. Boras;

I’m writing to you today to inform you that you’ve lost. Oh, don’t get me wrong; you’ve been wildly successful in your career, making millions upon millions in order to fund your army of unholy reverse-vampire orphan children. I commend you on your fine work in that regard, and I hope to serve you in some capacity in the apocolyptic wasteland that you will surely reneducation.jpgbring upon humanity in the near future. May I suggest a role as headmaster of the new learning facilities which will teach the great unwashed about your pure brilliance, such as the one shown at right? However, today I’m writing in regards to one Manuel Aristides Ramirez, better known as Manny (being Manny).

Now, I know you advised Manny to do whatever it took to get out of Boston so that the Red Sox wouldn’t exercise his clearly unfair dual $20 million team options for 2009 and 2010. “No matter that people will think you’re a douche,” you said. “You get your ass out of there and you feast upon the weaker National League, and rather than having to settle for a puny $40 million, I’ll get you six years and over $100 million, even though you care so little that you routinely stuff your uncashed checks in a box.” Kudos on that plan, because in any other year it might have worked perfectly, especially after the performance Manny put on. Did you know that in no small part to his efforts, my owners were able to buy not one, but two homes in Malibu? Shame about those kids who won’t have fields to play on, though. Looks like you might end up with some new conscripts for that bloodthirsty army of the night!

But Scott, I’m not writing to talk about the crimes you’ve committed against humanity. As you may or may not have noticed: the economy’s in the dumper. People who are losing their homes have no patience for a petulant child’s whining about millions of dollars he clearly doesn’t even need. On top of that, your usual “ooooh! there’s a mystery team!” crowing just doesn’t play here. Twenty-five or so of the MLB teams can’t even pretend to afford Manny. Of the ones that can, I’d say it’s pretty safe that Boston’s not interested, even the Yankees seem to have reached the end of their checkbook (not to mention they have far too many old “outfielders” as it is), the Angels are stocked in the outfield and have publicly declared Manny will never play for them, the Mets don’t seem to be in play, and what, are you really going to send Manny to Washington just because Jim Bowden lusts after outfielders?

“But, the Giants!” you begin to say, before I cut you off. Come on. Stop with that. Just because Jon Heyman’s either on your payroll or completely deluded doesn’t make it true. (Seriously, what is with that guy? I can’t even count the amount of sportswriters who are refuting his claims, yet he continues to crow about how he’s “confirmed” the discussions. I can’t wait for his new book, No Really: I’ve Confirmed WMD in Iraq!) The Giants are at their payroll limits, already have too many old and busted outfielders, and you’d think they’ve had their fill of controversal old left fielders, no? What does that leave? That’s right. It leaves us.

So here’s my point, Scott. Let’s knock this bullshit off. Spring training starts in just over a month, and you’ve received two legitimate offers – both of which were from us. Now, I never really expected you to accept either our two-year, $45 million proposal nor or offer of arbitration. I did kind of expect you wouldn’t be a total asshole and at least drop me a text message to turn me down – I mean, even a “LOL NO WAI KTHXBYE” would have sufficed. But that’s fine. That’s the way you roll, as the kids say, and I get it.

However, here’s the thing: I’m bored with this. I have the attention span of a gnat. How else do you think I got suckered into giving Juan Pierre a five-year deal? I heard that my old friend Brian Sabean was giving Slappy a four-year deal, and all I saw was “oooh: shiny! and speedy!” and I signed him up right then, OBP, throwing arm, and common sense be damned. I can’t keep going on with this “will he sign? won’t he sign? will he sign? won’t he sign” crap forever. Hell, I read the simply brilliant live-blog of your supposed discussions with the Giants over at the McCovey Chronicles, and it’s so ludicrous that I actually thought it was true! I need some activity on this front. I’m bored with the constant non-speak and lack of activity. The fans are impatient. And the bloggers? You better believe they’re sick of this. 

So Scott, I implore you. Take the boatload of money we’re offering you. No, it won’t be $22+ million/year like you’d hoped; it won’t even be as much as the 2/45m deal we offered originally. With the way things have gone in the economy since that offer, with the deals other players are going for, and with your complete lack of a Manny market, why should it be? Manny might be a better hitter than Pat Burrell, but when Pat’s getting $8m/year, there’s no way that Manny deserves three times as much. We’ll still offer Manny way more than we reasonably should considering we’re his only bidder, but still – when I said way back at the beginning that you’d lost, it’s true. You’ll look like a jackass for getting Manny to force his way out of Boston in such a manner and publicly demanding a six-year deal, while having to settle for only a two-year pact. I won’t pretend that the thought of your public humiliation doesn’t make me laugh so hard that I shake in my cowboy boots, because it does. But you can at least offer up some crap about how you “decided that money was less important than your client’s happiness, and Los Angeles was always where he wanted to be.” I won’t call you out on it. For all I care, you can even say that the $60 million or so fewer that you settle for is going towards 28,000 new fields for children.

Manny Ramirez. An obscene amount of money. Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s match.com, baby.

Yours,

Ned Colletti