Manny Turns Down Dodgers $25 Million Offer

By: AP Email
By: AP Email
Manny Ramirez (AP)

Manny Ramirez (AP)

The Dodgers are still trying to bring back Manny Ramirez. Only the enigmatic slugger doesn't like their latest deal.

He rejected their third offer - for one year - that would have
made him baseball's second-highest paid player behind Alex
Rodriguez.

That leaves Ramirez unsigned three months after deciding to test
his value in the recession-plagued free agent market, with the
Dodgers the only team to have confirmed making any offers.

"We have interest in signing Manny," general manager Ned
Colletti told The Associated Press in an e-mail Tuesday. "We don't
have a deadline but these situations can change in an instant and
either side can change them in an instant."

The Dodgers open spring training for the first time in Arizona
on Feb. 14.

Team owner Frank McCourt said the team still wants Ramirez back,
but "at some point, we have to move on," he was quoted by
MLB.com, which attended McCourt's hospital visit to cancer patients
along with the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.

The latest deal - a one-year, $25 million offer - was rejected
Monday. It would have given Ramirez the second-highest average
salary behind New York Yankees third baseman Rodriguez's $275
million, 10-year contract.

"We came up with what we thought was a creative proposal to
give him a lot of money, and well deserved in a challenging
economy, and give him flexibility if he feels it's important to
test free agency next year," McCourt told MLB.com. "I don't see
long-term contracts happening in this market we're in."

Ramirez, who turns 37 in May, is believed to be seeking a four-
or five-year deal starting at $25 million per season.

"We'd love to sign Manny," McCourt told MLB.com. "But we have
to be prudent with our decisions. This is about winning now, but
also in the future."

Colletti initially tried to re-sign the left fielder, offering a
two-year, $45 million deal with a buyout or a club option that was
ignored by Ramirez's agent Scott Boras and later withdrawn by the
team.

"The agent is challenging to work with and we've tried hard,"
McCourt told MLB.com. "We've made three efforts and we still have
not received a specific number from the agent, and I don't know
what to tell you. At some point, you have to move on and start to
get ready to win a championship."

The Dodgers' second attempt involved salary arbitration in
December, but Ramirez said no to that, too.

The San Francisco Giants have confirmed interest in Ramirez, but
like the Dodgers, they are believed to be reluctant to guarantee a
long-term deal.

And that seems to be the sticking point between the Dodgers and
the player who created a buzz upon arriving in Los Angeles from
Boston at the July 31 trade deadline.

Ramirez hit .396 with 17 homers, 53 RBIs, 36 runs scored, 74
hits and 35 walks in 53 regular-season games, leading the Dodgers
to the NL West title.

He was even more potent in the postseason, hitting .520 with
four homers, 10 RBIs, nine runs scored and 11 walks in eight
playoff games.

Ramirez made a huge impact on the Dodgers' bottom line, with a
big boost in attendance and souvenir sales, including No. 99
jerseys and fake dreadlocks.

But the latest rejection seems to signal that Ramirez remains
intent on locking up a long-term deal that would take him through
age 40.

Los Angeles manager Joe Torre and some of the Dodgers players
have said they want Ramirez back.

And he's even getting job-hunting help from Albert Pujols.

The St. Louis slugger passed along Ramirez's telephone number to
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.

"I speak with Manny every three days and he tells me, 'Man, no
one wants to sign me,' Pujols said last week in the Dominican
Republic. "I'm not an agent or general manager, but I can't
understand how Manny has not signed."


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