Brian Kamenetzky: Manny and the Dodgers? I give up.
Right now, I don't like anyone involved in the process. Well, maybe except for Ned Colletti, because you don't kill the messenger (and I appreciate his talent for understatement when he declared himself "frustrated" at the state of MannyWatch '09!). But I don't like Scott Boras (nothing new there) and I'm not a huge fan of Frank McCourt. Or Manny Ramirez. Not until ink is put to a contract, because right now, I feel like we're party to a long negotiation between the sun and Earth about whether the former will rise in the east tomorrow morning. We know it's going to happen, yet the process continues anyway.
I'm tired of sources close to the negotiations and individuals with knowledge of the situation, all speaking in shadows like Deep Throat in a parking garage. As much as I want the Blue to be competitive and interesting -- it's a lot more fun to be around the park when the team is competitive and interesting, and they risk being neither without ManRam -- I'm this close to hoping some other team swoops in with a last-minute offer even if it means Boras is vindicated when it's done. At least the ending will have a twist.
Is deferred money the problem in a two-year, $45-million dollar deal (via the LAT)? Is deferred money not an issue, but rather the dollar figure itself a sticking point (via the Daily News)? Is it because the Dodgers won't provide a personal dressing room, totally white, with white flowers, white tables, white drapes, white candles, room temperature Evian, and Kern's peach juice? (Sorry, that was J-Lo, via The Smoking Gun.) Like "24" somewhere around the middle of Season 5, I've officially lost patience with this program.
Free agency has jumped the shark.
I wrote a couple weeks back that the war is over and the Dodgers have won. If you had told Frank McCourt he could have Manny back next season for somewhere in the neighborhood of two years/$45 million, he'd have jumped on it in a heartbeat. As my dad likes to tell me, the enemy of good is better. Don't be greedy and overplay the hand. It's OK to overbid on Manny if it means the nearly four million folks who fill the stadium and buy jerseys and wigs and pony up for parking will have good reason to make up the difference, especially when the payroll will be lower than last season's even with Manny on board. If Borirez is cool with $45 million, lose the deferred payments.
And I'm certainly not into seeing the owner take shots via press release:
“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."
Gettin' a little puffy-chested, don't you think? No need to get into a smack-talkin' match with the surly superagent and his eccentric client. McCourt also said they'd now "start from scratch." Even Colletti didn't understand what that meant. Frank (rightly) thinks he's got the upper hand here, but there's an unprintable quote from Winston Wolf that feels particularly appropriate for this situation. (You'll have to look it up.)
And at the risk of having to eat crow in a few days or a week or whatever, if Boras is holding out for a few extra mil just so he can give Manny the same average annual salary as A-Rod (as reported by the Daily News' Tony Jackson in the link above) ... get over it. If Manny needs to have the same salary as A-Rod ... get over it. There's not another team out there willing to give you the $45 mil L.A. is offering, let alone more. Not close. Not when Adam Dunn gets $10 mil per and Bobby Abreu $5 mil.
The other option is to stay home.
Maybe the economy has my temper short, or I'm upset because Carla let Casey mess with her menu and didn't give herself a shot to win "Top Chef," or maybe it's because I hurt my back earlier in the week and still can't stand up straight. Whatever the reason, I'm officially over The Negotiation. Wake me when it's over. Until then, I'll focus on where Mark Mulder lands.
-- Brian Kamenetzky
Photo: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt watches Manny Ramirez come to the plate for his first at-bat as a Dodger. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times