The moment we all been waiting for is nearly at hand. A source with knowledge of the negotiations has reported that Marky T is close to making a decision. He wants a team picked out by Christmas, which by most calendars is next week. Among the teams that are known to have offers on the table are the Orioles, Angels, Red Sox, and Nationals. It is still unknown whether the Nationals actually have the money to back the offer. The Yankees are said to be interested but have not put forward an offer. It is being speculated that the Yankees are only really interested in driving up the price for Boston.
It is also being reported that the Yankees are close to deciding whether to extend Ramirez a 3 year deal worth $22-$25 million annually. The front office is apparently divided in the matter, but the Steinbrenner brothers appear to be in favor of it. Cashman is not sold on the idea, but it probably doesn't matter much. We at the RJG have been preaching Manny for some time now. We are aware of the drawbacks. Namely, he's a me-first habitual malcontent who quit on his team last season, and who makes Barry Bonds look agile in the outfield. But, this wouldn't be the first time the Yankees signed a me-first player who dogged it on the field, and what was the outcome? Did the team fall apart? No, they won the World Series, and this player became one of the most popular in modern Yankee lore. In Manny we have something similar. A powerful bat that hits when it matters. This is someone who hit .500 in the division series last season, and .533 in the championship series. He's hit 28 post season homeruns and driven in 74 post season runs over his career. He may be worth it.
Now, to quell the fear that Manny will up and quit on his team again. He certainly did with the Red Sox last season. But here's the thing. How long has Manny been asking to leave Boston? How many deals have fallen apart that were meant to send Manny away from Boston? He hasn't wanted to be there for a while now, and yet he's performed for them until last season. Now that he has gotten his wish to leave the team, why would he quit on his new team? Because he's Manny? Maybe, but I don't see it happening.
There are some other things to consider as well. Like Mattingly saying that Ramirez was the best right-handed hitter he's seen and that his work ethic is superb. Think about how much pressure a Manny signing would take off of chronic headcase Alex Rodriguez. Not to mention how much better the team is with Manny protecting A-Rod in the lineup. Further more, adding Manny allows us to move Nady who will be a free agent after next season, and could net us something good.
It is said that Manny wants a 4 year $100 million deal, which is pretty steep, and the speculation is that if he doesn't get it he may feel resentful against the team that signs him. That might happen, but that's where the Yankees can get creative. Give Manny a 3 year deal with a 4th year vesting option with a nice buyout. If Manny averages 30 homeruns and 500 at bats a season in each season, than the vesting option kicks in. Otherwise, he walks away with an extra $7 million in his pocket as his buyout. $7 million!? Why not? Its money, and the new stadium should more than make up for it. If not, the Yankees could always sell a few more players to Japan ala Darrell Rasner to make up for it.