ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Dodgers appear willing to meet or come close to superstar free agent
One person who's spoken to Dodgers people suggested that the team is considering proposing a contract that may come close to matching
"We'll know more after we sit down with Scott to gauge what's happening and see if there's some place we can meet in the middle,'' Colletti said.
Boras declined to discuss how many years Ramirez seeks, but there are some who believe he may require a pledge of at least four years, and perhaps even five, even to sit down with teams. Boras compared Ramirez to
Competing teams still see the Dodgers as the favorite to sign Ramirez. But if he does return, it may take awhile, judging by Ramirez's early rhetoric.
However, the Dodgers have benefited from keeping most of their free-agent contracts, like those for
Boras, though, noted that A-Rod's 10-year deal takes him to age 42, and that Bonds' previously mentioned five-year deal took him to the same age. Were Manny to sign for six years, he too would be 42 at its conclusion. One other interesting thing to note is that Bonds' Giants deal was negotiated between Boras and Colletti, who was then the Giants' assistant GM (Dodgers owner
The Phillies, Yankees, Blue Jays, Mets, Orioles and Rangers are all seen as potential suitors for Ramirez, who hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 53 games with the Dodgers and .332 with 37 home runs and 121 RBIs overall in the regular season. Ramirez has proven to be one of the game's two or three most dangerous hitters, and perhaps its most clutch hitter (he was otherworldly in the postseason, hitting .520 with four home runs and 10 RBIs even though opposing teams were pitching around him)
"Manny is a true franchise player, who not only showed grand performance in the regular season but performed even better in the postseason,'' Boras said.
There's no disputing that Ramirez's superb season puts him in excellent position as a free agent to cash in, and he said in interviews immediately after the Dodgers were ousted in the NLCS that he will take advantage to seek the biggest contract possible. Ramirez has proven to be quite the entertainer out in Los Angeles, and Colletti yesterday noted the humor of Ramirez's remark concerning his value when Manny said, "Gas is up, and so am I.''
Ramirez's underperformance with the Red Sox, when he was upset to be in Boston and worried about two team options that were eventually dropped when he was traded, may hurt him with some pursuers. But the Dodgers have only good memories after he lifted their franchise. Colletti agreed that Ramirez had a positive impact on several young Dodgers stars.
"He was positive in a lot of ways,'' Colletti said. "He's a great player. He knows what he's doing. He's very sharp.''