Should the Giants Sign Manny Ramirez?

The Argument against signing Manny by Koski:

No Mas Manny

The Giants should stay away from Manny Ramirez. Granted, he’s a future hall of fame player who put up Super MVP statistics after he was traded to the Dodgers last season, but Manny will not be signing a discount contract this winter. Manny forced his way out of Boston, giving up $40 million dollars, just so he could cash in as a free agent. This winter, Manny has already turned down a two year $45 million dollar deal and a one year $25 million dollar deal with the Dodgers. Ramirez switched agents almost a year ago, picking super agent Scott Boras, reportedly because Boras promised he could get Manny 6 years for $150 million. Regardless of what you think about that number, Boras is not in position to negotiate a discount contract. I would be all for the Giants to sign Manny to a one or two year deal, but it’s not going to happen. That means the only way the Giants could lure Manny would be to go to at least four years and over $100 million dollars. To a 36 year old left fielder? That’s more money than Bonds was making when he was launching asterisks out of AT&T all those years.

The Giants can’t afford to cripple their budget for another Boras client (only 5 more years of Zito!), especially when they have a well stocked farm system and a certain Cy Young winner they need to sign to an extension. Why are Manny Ramirez (and other FAs like Dunn, Abreu & Sheets) still available this close to spring training anyways? To borrow from Slick Willie, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Teams are nervous about future revenue and its effect on payroll. This recession could actually be really good for the Giants, believe it or not. If some of the smaller market teams feel the recession pinching their bottom line this season, teams could start unloading their pricey players at bargain prices. The Brewers just signed Prince Fielder to a two year $18 million dollar contract, but will they be able to afford him and Ryan Braun (8 yrs/ $45mil) if things go south next year? There’s no telling who could end up on the market if a team underperforms on the field and at the ticket office. As luxury suite sales slow, front offices will begin to reexamine their financial position. When teams gets nervous about the bottom line and want to sell off parts, buyers can get quality pieces at a discount.

What would signing Manny Ramirez mean to the 2009 Giants? Certainly, it would mean more wins and a more entertaining offense for Giants fans. I won’t argue against that, but would it automatically make the Giants World Series contenders? NL West contenders? The Dodgers won the NL West last year by two games, not even reaching 85 wins. Manny was playing out of his mind on a team with much better compliments than the Giants will have next season. Which group of supporting players has the better chance of reaching the World Series with Manny Ramirez: Russell Martin, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Raphael Furcal or Bengie Molina, Aaron Rowand, Pablo Sandoval, Randy Winn and Fred Lewis? Payroll flexibility is key for the Giants moving forward. Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand will be making a combined $30+ million dollars a year from 2010-2012. Add Manny Ramirez into the equation and the Giants would be paying $50-$60 million for three players, three! The best course of action is for the Giants to be patient and see who becomes available during the season. Usually, expiring contracts are NBA trade pieces, but the state of the economy could force MLB teams’ to rethink acquiring those contracts. The Giants have a glut of expiring contracts after 2009: Bengie Molina ($6mm), Randy Johnson ($8 mm), Randy Winn ($8.25mm), Dave Roberts ($6.5 mm), and Noah Lowery ($4.5 mm). The Giants shouldn’t waste their money on Manny Ramirez. Save the money for Matt Holliday and Brain Roberts or desperate teams who want to move their pricey stars.

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