Finally! Manny Ramirez (or should I say Scott Boras?) and the Dodgers finally agreed to contract that the Dodgers have been offering and the Ramirez camp have been rejecting for going on three months now. Apparently the Dodgers subscribe to the “if at first you don’t succeed, try the exact same thing again and again” philosophy. Anyways, it worked, at least to their values and Manny is now on his way to the Dodgers Spring Training facility.
The biggest part of this whole mess that gets me is that we heard early on in the off season that many teams were scared off of bidding for Manny Ramirez because they were afraid of his antics. They were afraid that unless Manny got what he thought he was worth, that he wouldn’t focus on his play. That seemed like a reasonable fear. So what does Boras/Manny do to ally those fears? They embark on one of the most dragged out, public, nutty negotiations of recent history. Way to go there fellas.
The deal is for two years and $45 million, the second year and $20 million being a player option. Given the mercurial nature of Manny, it is hard to assume that he will either exercise or deny that option so we’ll look at both results.
Offensive projections for Manny next year range on the lower side of the average of his 2007 and 2008 seasons, which is reasonable given his age. Though, there is the move to the National League to consider. Moving on for the moment, that appears to be about 35 runs, give or take five or so, above average with the bat. Manny will be full time in a corner outfield spot in the NL, so he gets -7.5 runs for that and +20 runs for replacement level.
What’s left is how much to dock Manny for his defense. He was pretty consistently -15 to -20 runs from 2005-7, but climbed all the way up to -2.3 last year. That looks like a fluke to me, but I will regress his projection back to -15 runs. Adding that all together, and we arrive at 3-3.5 wins. Again, that’s about smack in the middle of his 2007 (1.0 win) and 2008 (6.5 wins), and on a reasonable path from his 2004-6 path.
That would make Manny worth a little under $15 million for 2009 so right away we can see that this is a sizable overpay by LA. A second year of Manny would only up the expected value to LA to slightly over $25 million. It appears to be in the best interest of the Dodgers if Manny declines his option after this season, allowing them an out from the deal and from hopefully the brunt of the PR mandate that called for them to make sure they kept Manny.
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