At this point, what we're seeing with Manny Ramirez simply is a modern-day holdout.
Remember the classic "holdout"? A guy would be unhappy with his contract so he would stay away from spring training for several days (or weeks)?
Oh, I know Manny doesn't have a contract, so he's not technically a "holdout." But at this point it's essentially the same thing.
Everyone in baseball is expecting him to sign with the Dodgers. It's reached the point where it's barely news. The only way it will be a big story at this point is if he signs with someone other than the Dodgers. The lack of interest across the board is astounding -- and, given his past behavior, deserved.
Ramirez often reported to Boston's camp a few days after he was expected. He's not overly fond of spring training, anyway, and this spring contains an extra week because of the World Baseball Classic. There is no urgency.
It's a holdout, pure and simple. He must make his point that he's not at all happy that the Dodgers and others didn't rush that four- or five-year, $100-million-plus deal toward him.
The most famous holdout in Dodgers history was a double holdout: In 1966, unhappy with their contracts, Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale stayed out of camp together for 32 days. The disagreement finally ended when on March 30 that spring, Koufax signed for $130,000 and Drysdale signed for $105,000.
Unlike Ramirez, both Koufax and Drysdale were property of the Dodgers during their contract spat. Ramirez is a free agent, but one without many landing places.
So the Dodgers continue to wait, and Manny waits. Indications are that it will be over with soon -- agent Scott Boras reportedly suggested a 2010 player option, which is a signal that Ramirez's side is getting close to serious negotiating.
Most likely, this modern-day holdout will be finished soon.
Then everyone can yawn, Manny can go back to being Manny, and the Dodgers can stop answering questions about him.