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Manny Ramirez: Last season of his career?

You never know when a few words might catch fire on the Internet.

Manny2 On Nov. 1, Ken Gurnick, who covers the Dodgers for, wrote that Manny Ramirez had "told teammates that he ought to be a designated hitter," which would have meant opting out of a Dodgers contract that guaranteed him $20 million this year. Gurnick wrote pretty much the same thing this week -- tucked within a story about how Joe Torre plans to rest Ramirez and Casey Blake more often this year -- and all of a sudden the Internet buzzed with all sorts of reaction and analysis.

Take a stroll through the Dodgers clubhouse, and you'll hear Ramirez saying just about anything to just about anybody. Remember last spring, when Ramirez had just re-signed with the Dodgers and then told USA Today how he would love to finish his career with the Cleveland Indians?

Ramirez is well aware he makes his money with his bat, not his glove, and no one would fault him for thinking aloud that he might be better off as a DH. But here's the thing that somehow seemed to be lost in all that Internet commentary: Ramirez has the best agent in the business, Scott Boras.

If Boras has leverage, he does not hesitate to use it. In 2006, J.D. Drew told everyone he planned to return to the Dodgers. Boras showed Drew how there was more money to be made in free agency, then asked the Dodgers how they might sweeten Drew's contract. So Drew opted out of his contract with the Dodgers and signed with the Boston Red Sox.

Boras had absolutely no leverage with Ramirez, even with the opt-out clause, and he let Ramirez know that. He also let Ramirez know there would be no DH job awaiting him. Boras didn't even try asking the Dodgers to sweeten the contract, because he and the Dodgers knew there was no chance Ramirez could get anything close to $20 million anywhere else.

Ramirez might not have gotten a contract anywhere else. After he hit .396 in that monster two-month run with the Dodgers in August and September 2008, how many teams besides the Dodgers extended him a contract offer? None.

So how many teams do you think might have extended him a contract offer this winter, with the baggage of his 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy? None. 

This might well be the last season of Ramirez's career. If he wants to play for relative peanuts next year, maybe he finds a job. But given the absence of a market for Ramirez over the last two winters as well as the suspension and the decline in his production last season, who's to say he even gets a contract offer?

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Manny Ramirez. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (14)

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If Manny's troubles were due more to the pitch he took off his hand/wrist than his suspension (and its causes), and did come back hot after the suspension until the HBP (bobbleslam notwithstanding), then he will have a good offensive season and might find himself a decent-paying - but not $25M - job as a DH in 2011. (The Yankees look to have an opening then. So do the Angels of Anaheim perhaps.)

I think there is some reason to suspect that Manny will "enhance" again this off-season. This may be his last hurrah, he is certainly not getting into the Hall of Fame, he cannot tolerate a full season of humilation and ire from the fans. His character leads me to this conclusion. I say watch closely early on. If he starts mashing, eyebrows will raise.

The $20 Million a season looked like a sure bet at this time last year. We'll see how far that goes in '10.

You can bet that this not Manny's last season. To many DH roles in the AL. Don't bet he will not make the HF, either. Things have a way of changing.

My prediction for Manny......259 Batting Average , 12 homeruns,59 rbi's and spends the last 2 months on the bench and then asked by the team to go home for the rest of the season....and the end of his career....

Manny was still one of the Dodgers better hitters late last season and into the playoffs...his power numbers are down but he can still hit...he is still the most feared hitter in the Dodger line-up going into this season....I say his numbers will be more like .305..25 HRs...101 RBIs

Have to agree with you there, If Manny isn't finished yet, he's close to it.

Last year was an aboration. One thing Manny can do when healthy is hit. Anybody who thinks taking a fastball off the wrist had nothing to do with the numbers he put up afterwards has obviously never been hit by a fastball, let alone on the wrist. Manny will be fine.

Did Manny need the mom-juice to perform at a high level before his suspension?

It would be great to see him clean, sober, and hitting a ton.

WEll they took the STEROIDS AWAY from him, he will play 5 more years if they wouldn't have caught him last year.Thats wy his numbers went down, PEOPLE WAKE UP, But I'll still take him in my Yankees for DH.

manny's a cancer - 'nuf said

Manny isn't a cancer. I hate it when people say that...about anyone. It's sickening. I have been watching Manny his entire career. I don't believe, no matter what happened last season, that he has done steroids his whole career. He was a natural born hitter. Period. The end.

I agree with Dodger Tony. Manny is done and may juice to save face. If caught he would simply retire. The risk might be worth it to him. Luckily they have Juan Pier----oh sorry. I forgot.

I watched Manny in Boston for years...I know how infectious and joyful the good times can be. And I know how poisonous he can be, too. But I've heard more .... come out of his mouth to believe any one thing. I look for Manny to regain his stroke, but question his ability to maintain his focus for 6 straight months. If he can, he'll look like a big bopper to some 'comer' AL team next year, looking for the over-the-top piece.

Manny is coming off the most psychological taxing season of his career. After his suspension he never got back to Manny being Man ny....just playing the game. He knew the '09 season would always be a rough season to look back on, and therefore never returned to his old form. Now that it is a new season Manny will play with comfort and a renewed enthusiasm for the game. Look for a quick start for Manny. My guess is there isn't a player in the game looking forward to opening day more than Manny.


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