Friday, January 30, 2009

Time to Man Up?

"I speak with Manny every three days and he tells me, `Man, no one wants to sign me,' Pujols said Thursday during a news conference. "I'm not an agent or general manager, but I can't understand how Manny has not signed.''

There are a few reasons that no team has reached a deal with free agent Manny Ramirez:
  1. The Economy. Across the board, teams are spending less. Aside from the cream of the crop, players that would have received 3, 4 or 5 year deals in previous off-seasons are getting 1 or 2 year deals. Some, like Manny, are still waiting.
  2. Manny will be 37 next year. Signing him to the minimum 4-year deal that his agent, Scott Boras, is demanding potentially limits his suitors to those in the Junior Circuit, where they are cursed with the impurity of the Designated Hitter.
  3. Attitude. He's flaky. He's selfish. He plays when he wants to play. It's no secret that Manny pretty much faked injuries midway through the season, forcing Boston to trade him, which voided the 2 remaining option years on his contract and allowed he and Boras to seek a new multi-year deal.
There's a few reasons the Cardinals themselves shouldn't sign Manny:
  1. No Room. The Cardinals already have a glut of Outfielders. Super-prospect CF Colby Rasmus joins an already crowded group of Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker and Chris Duncan.
  2. Bigger Needs. Even if the Cards could make some room in the OF via trades, most would argue that starting pitching and relief pitching are better holes to fill than another bat in the lineup.
  3. $$$$. At the beginning of the off-season, the Dodgers didn't bite on Boras' demands for a 5 or even 6 year deal. They offered 2 years, $45 million. Apparently Boras has yet to even dignify that with a response. Pujols posits that Manny may give the Cards a home team discount. I don't buy it. If the Cards were to show interest in Manny, Boras would most certainly use that as leverage to get offers from the Dodgers (or as rumored, the Giants) raised. If there's one thing we've learned about Scott Boras, he doesn't give discounts.

There's a couple reasons the Cards should sign Manny.
  1. Manny Still Rakes. He's probably one of the top 3 hitters in the last 12 years, and even at 36, after he was traded to the Dodgers he put up a .396/.489/.743 line in 222 PA. He has a career line of .314/.411/.593 (for comparison's sake, the 29(?) year old Pujols' career line is .334/.425/.624 ....... yeah... he's still really good..... ).
  2. This is the first time that I can remember Pujols suggesting the Cards go after a specific player. I've often wondered how the Cards' purse strings may affect their ability to sign the slugger when he becomes a FA before the 2012 season. Will he become frustrated if Cardinal ownership is content to spend just enough to keep the fans coming but not enough to be a real contender? I'm not suggesting that the musings of a superstar should dictate team policy; I just think it would be a shame for Pujols to sour on the team when it's pretty obvious that Cardinal ownership could afford to expand payroll.

So really, the question isn't do you think the Cards should the Cardinals sign Manny Ramirez, it's how much should the Cards spend on Manny? I'm not asking because I think they should; rather I want to know what you think Manny is worth to the Cards? You're the GM, what do you think?


John Hanrahan said...

I would offer Manny a 1 year 12MM contract in a heart beat. He has some issues but he is one of the best hitters in the game.

We could move some outfielders to get some pitching now. Manny also buys some younger players like Rasmus some more time to develope.

We might not have that much time with Albert so we should win now while we can.

Ryan said...

Roller, great post, and I pretty much agree with you.

without thought, I'd sign manny to a two year, 20 mill/per deal though. He's just that good.

But our team didn't have trouble scoring runs last year, and for that reason, I'd take a pass on him. We need pitching and maybe speed.

If my memory is correct, we were like top 5 in most offensive team categories, but really low in all pitching.

That pic of Manny picking his nose is making our 2009 HOF.

Johnny, you'd sign Manny for 12? But that's not going to happen.

How much would you guys sign Adam Dunn for?

Glaus is out for awhile, what does taht mean for us?

John Hanrahan said...

Right now Manny is T.O. I really think that he could sit out all year. I think that 12MM is better than no money. If he has a great year for the Cards and doesnt cause any issues he should be able to get another big contract.

I think Albert can keep Manny under control. Would you mess with Albert?

I know we need pitching but if we add Manny will will have at least two out fielders to trade for pitching (Jake Peavy). I know the Cards will not do it but it would be very nice if they did.

Coovo said...

Interesting points fellas.

John, where are you getting this $12 MM number from? If Boras wouldn't legitimize a two year $45 MM offer from the Dodgers, he will have a hearty laugh at this one from Mozieliaskivich. Even if this were the only offer Manny got, Boras would leverage it against other teams and then it would become a bidding war and the Cards would have to outbid the Dodgers, Giants and maybe others. I don't see that happening.

Not to say that the Cards shouldn't sign him but it will take more than $12 MM and more than 1 yr.

Looks like the Cubs pursuit of Peavy is over. They got Aaron Heilman. Which is funny, because I thought they already had enough right handed run producers.

Ryan said...

I'm shocked Peavy hasn't been dealt to anyone yet.

I'm sure we've offered half our outfield for the guy.

What are they looking for?

Coov, Heilman could be a great addition for you guys. He had a couple great runs with the Mets, and was he with texas before? But he just never found a comfy spot and sort of blew up. If he finds a roll, he could be a sneaky good signing for Cubbies.

Coovo said...

Heilman has always been with them Mets. I guess his numbers from the three years before last are decent, but I'm not psyched about this move and many of the other offseason moves.

Coovo said...

However, I have been delighted by all of the Cardinals' moves (or non-moves).

kevin said...

without doing any research (my favorite method), i think the cards' payroll dropped to about 90mm from 100 this year. with some holes to fill, they need that extra room. i've also read that the economy is affecting MLB too, so they may not hit 100mm anyway. i would doubt manny will be in red.
that said, i usually applaud slow paced buildups of teams. however, with pujols in his prime...shizah! give the man a supporting cast! sorry for the 2 exclamation points, but we'll be talking about pujols to our kids (i'm talking about me and you rollo), and there still won't be anyone of his caliber on the redbirds by then. capitalize on him now and spend big (that's SOOO keynesian of me!!!!!!), don't just use him as a way to keep your offense in the top third. i say, build an offensive powerhouse while we can. when he's gone, build slowly and for balance.

btw - how well do you think a city/state-wide fundraiser would work for acquiring players, given the brass' hesitation to do so? do you think if well marketed, it would produce any substantial sum? and if it could, would cards' front office even allow the funds (or 'monies' if i feel like feeling superior)?
it's probably not feasible, but i like the idea. i also think a player would be extremely flattered by the move and come here where he may not have before...

kevin said...

ok - there are about 3mm people in greater st. louis, and about 6mm in the state. however, the echo of jack buck still lingers in the ears of many a nebraskan, arkansaszonite, etc. most people wouldn't donate, but others would give sizable donations. let's say with good advertising and local fundraisers, you could get 600,000? with an average donation of 10? that's 6mm, and my numbers are probably too high, so let's say 3mm?
if people went to all that trouble, i'm sure the brass would be guilted into accommodation. maybe it would serve as a signing bonus?

Roller said...

Good thoughts, everyone.

To answer my own question, I wouldn't give Manny anything guaranteed over two years. I'd be fine with the Dodgers offer (2 / 45).

Regarding Dunn, I wouldn't give him anything if I were the Cardinals, for the "needs" reasons we've already discussed. If I were a team in need of OF, a 1 / 10 or 2/20 deal would probably be a bargain.

Regarding Glaus, from what I understand he's only injured until mid-May or so. The Cards' farm system is incredibly deep at 3B. Expect to see a lot of David Freese, Allen Craig and Brett Wallace in Spring Training. Freese, who came from SD in the Edmonds trade, is the most experienced and probably has the best shot at filling in for Glaus of the three. I'm pretty sure Wallace, the youngest, was the Cards' #1 draft pick last year. From what I understand, none of these guys will be mistaken for Rolen or Gluas with the leather; they may have to move to the OF if they are everyday major leaguers. But the trio should produce a replacement for Glaus in the (hopefully) short time he's out. It will be fun to watch them in ST...

Once the Cubs' sale is finalized and the expansion of payroll could be approved, I expect the Peavy/Cubs talk will heat up again. Talk about a rotation...

Kev, I have found myself agreeing with you on almost every comment you've left on this blog. Including this one, right up until the state-wide fundraiser thing. I think the only way it would work is if it were a fund to get Willie McGee back on the team in some capacity. Then, the wallets would open.

kevin said...

rollo - i noticed you didn't disagree with the 'our kids' line.

noted and appreciated.

hey - pujols is slowly aging, and mozeborak is doing facebook all day. i'm just trying to make things happen. (if i gave ron paul money, you betcherass i'll buck up to help out pu...)

btw - is there any way to bring attention to older threads that get new comments?

Marty said...

I don't think that the Cardinals will sign Ramirez, and I can think of a million reasons why they shouldn't. Among them the fact that he's an ass, and will inevitably be a distraction. But they are an automatic contender if they do, because all he does is go to the playoffs and slaughter clutch hit after clutch hit, regardless of distraction.

Now, lets be clear, I hate the Cardinals, much like all of you hate the cubs, and apparently wouldn't coach 1st base for the Cards even if Ryan McCabe paid me $100,000 a year. That being said, as long as they have Pujols on the team and LaRussa and Duncan on the bench, they stand a chance to win.

Last year, no redbird fan that I talked to was even remotely optimistic about the season or the future prospects of winning, they finished with 86 wins, three more than they had when they won it all, albeit in 4th place, but were in the chase until the last 15-20 days. I'd love to say it's because they're the Cardninals and their soul purpose is to make me uneasy in the fact that they are always in contention, but I think its more in the fact that Pujols mashes the ball, Duncan has been revitalizing seemingly worthless arms since the Benes brothers, Bottenfield, and some other B named pitchers who if Larry Rothschild got his hands on them would be perpetually throwing towels and never pitch again, and solid management by Larussa.

So, in a rather long winded way, I say if you have a chance to add Manny's bat, or Sheets' arm, or any other big stat expensive free agent, you even overpay, hell give him 2 years 50 million, because its not like they need to add any other pieces. He'll keep butts in the seats and at the very least they'll be contending, they always do anyway.

Besides, it'll be that much easier for me to root against him if he's on the cardinals. But with him in that lineup next to Pujols, and then you think about what your paying Ludwick and Ankiel to see some pretty meatball pitches....I think its worth thinking about....

Marty said...

...and I hate Aaron Miles....

kevin said...

pasted from an espn article this morning:

"Just hours after the Dodgers offered him a one-year, $25 million contract that would have made him the second-highest paid player in baseball and the highest-paid outfielder in baseball history, Ramirez and agent Scott Boras informed the team late Monday night that they'd rejected that offer."

damn. and just to recap, he's also rejected a 2 year, 45mm offer as well.

an interesting point that buster olney brought up, was that there was a fear that if manny caved in and accepted a shorter contract, the fear would be that he'd be bitter about it, and not play hard. a definite possibility.

marty - what are your thoughts about eckstein? the little guy had heart...

Marty said...

I have no problems with david eckstein, in fact he is the type of player I admire and want on my team, kind of like ryan theriot... and i have no problems with the fact that the cubs did not sign david eckstein...i do however have a problem with a fourth place team not even wanting aaron miles back and the cubs trading away a much better player and giving him a chance to start

Coovo said...

This is crazy. Arguably the best hitter in the game doesn't have a team 2 weeks before camps open.

The rejection of the 2 year offer was more like a pocket veto. The Dodgers took it off the table before he officially responded, but it was out there for a long time.

I always say that you can never really interpret a situation until you are in it yourself, but I keep thinking there has to be a point where where you play and who you play for becomes a consideration. But for Boras clients, it seems to be all about the money and getting market value, so the next person in line can get it as well.

Yeah I said pocket veto. What's up now pol-bloggers?

Ryan said...

Coov, I think you hit the nail on the head with who you play for.

What does Manny have to prove at this stage though? Nothing.

He's not just one of the best hitters of our time, he's one of the best hitters of all time.

Tons of teams would love to him on a bunch of different contracts, but I think you're right that Boras is really holding out over details. He has to be.

The only other option is that the owners in baseball are colluding against manny and boras, which has happened before against other players.

But the other reality is that this upcoming season will be the first full season affected by our recession. If you don't get a huge contract from the Yanks, you ain't gettin one from anyone else. Most teams get a huge chunk of their revenue from getting fans into the ballpark. If that falls even 10%, that's enough to ask the question:

Although Manny rakes, is he really, literally twice as good as a player who makes $12 million?

Seems to me almost every free agent who didn't get signed by the yanks took a little hit either in years or annual salary.

Coovo said...

You also have to remember that Manny had options at 20 mil a year before he negotiated the trade to get them dropped. I'm not sure if they were team, player or mutual but if his next contract falls below that, it will be at least a little funny.

Interesting point you make about Manny being twice as meaningful as someone who makes 12 mil. I guess it really depends who that is and how you factor MAnny's potential premadonnaness into your equation.

One example you could look at is Kevin Youkilis. He just signed a 4 year deal 41 mil deal. Say Manny had stayed in Beantown. IS he twice as good as youkilis who can play either 3rd or 1st?

Here is a Boston Herald article talking abotu the same thing:

One of these days someone will have to show me how to html these things.

Should be a flurry of moves here in the next couple weeks.

Roller said...

Marty, hilarious comment regarding the towel-throwing. I had forgotten all about that. Ah... how we used to fear Mark Prior. Good point also on DeRosa/Miles. I had heard that the downgrade from DeRosa to Miles saved them about 3 mill in 2009, helping them sign Milton Bradley.

BTW, any truth to the rumor the Cubs are trying to triple the number of interleague games so Bradley will stay healthy?


It's interesting how spending has fallen off a cliff after the elite were signed. And although the Yanks outbid everyone for CC, Teix and Burnett, there were multiple other teams bidding high dollars for those players. But after Derek Lowe's 4/60 from the Braves... You have Ben Sheets practically begging for two guaranteed years. (How smart does Kyle Lohse feel?)

My guess is that Boras and Manny will hold out as long as it takes to get a better deal. Boras just needs another team or two to enter the discussion. Maybe someone gets injured in ST, maybe they get enticed by the price, maybe they want to drive up the price for the Dodgers. Manny isn't a pitcher, so participating in ST isn't as necessary for him...