Tag:Manny Ramirez
Posted on: April 7, 2009 12:00 am

New year, and Dodgers loaded

It's a miniscule sample size, but the snapshot following game one of 162 for the Los Angeles Dodgers is that they should have the best lineup in the NL West this season and, possibly, as good as there is in the National League.

Against San Diego ace Jake Peavy, the first inning played out perfectly. Leadoff man Rafael Furcal punched a single, and second baseman Orlando Furcal followed with another.

So Peavy was staring at two speedsters aboard, none out and Ramirez at the plate.

"That's what we're hoping for at the top of the lineup," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "That they can make the pitchers pitch to Manny.

"Manny didn't get any hits today. But I believe his presence is important."

No kidding. Ramirez didn't do any damage in the inning, popping to center. But two batters later, with two out and Russell Martin at the plate, Furcal and Hudson took off, successfully completing a double steal.

After Martin walked, Loney cracked a two-run single. The Dodgers never came close to trailing after that.

Peavy was impressed, not only with a deep Dodgers lineup in which the six-seven-eight hitters are James Loney, Matt Kemp and Casey Blake, but with the one-two punch of Furcal and Hudson at the top.

"Both can run," Peavy said. "Both are switch-hitters, table-setters, All-Stars. They can run, they can hit-and-run, they can get on base and steal. They can run around the bases, and when you've got Manny up there. ..."


It's a miniscule sample size, but if the Dodgers get some pitching, and if Furcal avoids further back trouble and they stay away from key injuries, then these Dodgers are going to be extremely dangerous.

Likes: Day baseball at this time of year. Nice to watch the Mets-Reds before heading to the park later Monday. And nice to listen to Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley on XM radio. I'll tell you, though, when they started talking about Montgomery Inn, it made me wish I was in Cincinnati for opening day this year. Might be the best ribs in America right there. ... Writing out the first lineups of the year on my scoresheets. ... 75 degrees at game-time in San Diego on Monday. ... Spring break. Nice to have my daughter home from school. ... Cruising through the park on my daily run and seeing the rabbits out. Ah, spring. ... My wife's homemade pizza on Saturday night as the NCAA semi-final games were going. I may be one of the more boring guys around, but I'll tell you what: It's still really hard to find a more enjoyable evening than a good ballgame on television at home with pizza.

Dislikes: Longtime New York Times baseball columnist and buddy Jack Curry getting hit by a car while in Philadelphia on Sunday for the Phillies-Braves opener. Thank God he escaped with "only" badly bruised ribs and several scrapes. Get well soon, Jack. ... Ichiro out with an ulcer. ... San Diego's crack media relations gal, Leah Tobin, leaving for a job with the Red Sox. Don't get me wrong, good for Leah and great move for the Red Sox. Personally speaking, I'll miss her. She's good. Congratulations, Leah. ... Michigan State getting clocked in the NCAA title game. And, worse, a lopsided title game.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

With respect and eternal admiration to Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, who regularly ushered in the new season in his first spring broadcast each year with this:

"For, lo, the winter is past
"The rain is over and gone
"The flowers appear on the earth
"The time of the singing of birds is come
"And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land"

-- Song of Solomon, Solomon 2:11-12.


Posted on: March 22, 2009 8:57 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2009 9:49 pm

Players union: No sugar to charities

 LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers owner Frank McCourt wasn't very smart the other day when he decreed that, henceforth, charitable donations will be required in all future Dodgers player contracts.

But the resulting action, in which the players' union filed a grievance against 22 clubs asking that the charity clauses in individual player contracts be ruled illegal and the money immediately given back to the players, is even worse.

"Every future Dodger will be asked to fill in a blank line," McCourt said last week in one of the more naïve and misguided statements of the year.

Since when did clubs get in the business of forcing charity upon players?

That said, there are times when the players' union simply cannot stop itself from an absurdly inappropriate action, and this is one of them. In this poor economy, with job loss and home foreclosures practically off the charts, the union now is going to attack charities on the players' behalf? Please.

Start with the fact that these clauses were negotiated in good faith by the player agents and the clubs. If Scott Boras isn't comfortable with Manny Ramirez donating $1 million to Dodgers Dream Foundation, then Boras isn't going to negotiate it.

"There's really three different things," Rob Manfred, executive vice-president for labor relations for major league baseball, said here at Dodger Stadium. "One, that you'd file anything where you say that there is no benefit to a player from engaging in a charitable act is shocking.  Really, this is shocking to us.

"Two, these deals for years have been used as a bridge to close deals. And the third thing is that whatever you say about these clauses, they're negotiated by individual player agents and clubs. ...

"They're already being paid the money that they're donating to charity. Now, they're asking that they should be paid again."

According to Dan Halem, major league baseball's senior vice-president and general counsel, labor relations, there are 109 contracts for 2009 that contain charitable clauses that earmark roughly $6 million to charity.

The grievance lists 22 clubs as having charitable clauses in player contracts: Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida, Houston, the Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee, the New York Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Texas and Toronto.




Posted on: March 13, 2009 1:34 pm

Papelbon says Manny "like cancer"

 PEORIA, Ariz. -- Hey, it could have been worse: Pap could have said that Manny can't dance.

Likes: Manny Ramirez pulling out of his scheduled first Cactus League game because of a "tight hamstring." Very entertaining. Manny never did like spring training much, and is this the first of what are sure to be more Manny Moments for the Dodgers this year than last? ... Joe Mauer's back isn't as bad as feared in Minnesota. ... Syracuse and Connecticut going six overtimes Thursday night in that epic Big East Conference tournament game. What a show. I picked it up toward the end of the first overtime when I returned to the hotel from dinner at. ... Monti's Steakhouse, a landmark on Mill Ave. near the Arizona State campus. The place has character. ... Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Fascinating read, though you'd better have some time -- it's 700-plus pages. Another winner from Doris Kearns Goodwin. ... Jon Stewart artfully taking apart Jim Cramer on The Daily Show on Thursday night.

Dislikes: There's this high-pitched squeal, a kind of low feedback noise, emanating from ESPN on my hotel TV. No other channels, that I can discern. Nice. Not that I was going to watch any of the college conference tournaments this weekend in my spare time or anything. ...

Sunblock day: Beautiful. Bright, warm and upper 70s.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"Keep your raft from the riverboat
"Fiction over fact always has my vote
"And wrinkles only go where the smiles have been"

-- Jimmy Buffett, Barefoot Children



Posted on: March 3, 2009 11:06 pm

Dodgers, Manny continue talking

Slugger Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers have long since reached the point where they either have a deal or they don't.

Forget "close." You can't get much closer than they did last week without actually finalizing a contract.

"No deal," Scott Boras, the agent for Ramirez, wrote in an e-mail to CBSSports.com on Tuesday night. "Talking with the Dodgers daily."

But in the strongest indication yet that Ramirez is ready to splash down and again make Mannywood of Hollywood, the slugger is flying to Los Angeles ready to make a deal. He is expected to be there by Wednesday, available to meet with the Dodgers in person.

"... I think we're close (to a deal)," Ramirez told columnist T.J. Simers in Tuesday morning's Los Angeles Times. "... Tell everyone that Mannywood is coming."

The two sides essentially reached the framework for a two-year, $45 million deal last week, only to see it fall apart over how much money would be deferred. Ramirez was to receive $25 million in the first year and $20 million in the second, with an opt-out clause.

The two sides were around $1.5 million apart last week when Dodgers owner Frank McCourt emotionally declared that the Dodgers were pulling their offer and that the negotiations would have to begin from scratch.

Instead, the two sides continued talking. And late Tuesday night, it was extraordinarily clear that there would be no "starting from scratch." The Dodgers -- and Manny -- had picked up where they left off.


Posted on: February 26, 2009 1:44 pm

Manny: Modern-day holdout

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.



Posted on: December 9, 2008 1:54 pm

Dodgers meet with Boras, discuss Manny

LAS VEGAS -- The deafening silence between Manny Ramirez and the Los Angeles Dodgers has broken. The Dodgers met with agent Scott Boras late Monday night and discussed Ramirez and "other" Boras clients, Los Angeles general manager Ned Colletti told CBSSports.com.

Earlier Monday, Colletti said the Dodgers had yet to receive an answer from either their two-year offer to Ramirez last month or their offer of salary arbitration to Ramirez last week. Presumably, even without answers, discussions of what it would take to keep Ramirez a Dodger are back on track. For a night, at least.

Posted on: December 8, 2008 4:27 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2008 4:31 pm

Manny: The sounds of silence

LAS VEGAS -- The Los Angeles Dodgers continue to wait for Manny Ramirez.

And we mean that in every literal sense of the word.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Monday that the club never heard a word from Ramirez's camp following their offer of salary arbitration -- which Ramirez declined on Sunday.

"You would think an offer to salary arbitration would open the door to a conversation," Colletti said.

This was after the Dodgers offered a two-year deal, believed to be with a club option for a third year, for a reported $25 million a year roughly a month ago.

"I just find it curious that we made an offer and never heard back, and then we made an arbitration offer and never heard back," Colletti said. "Maybe we have to look into the communications we're using."

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 17, 2008 2:40 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2008 2:49 pm

Pujols right choice for NL MVP

Because, in a perfect world, the Most Valuable Player award should be one part player-of-the-year and one part importance-to-team, Albert Pujols' claim to the National League award on Monday was right on the money.

Pujols was the MVP in the NL because, in addition to superior numbers, he was the most consistent best player from early April through late September. No, two of his numbers weren't superior -- Philadelphia's Ryan Howard out-homered Pujols 48-37, and out-RBI'd Pujols 146-116.

That's a whopping margin, particularly in the RBI department. Because of that and the fact that Howard helped push his team into the playoffs, no doubt there will be Phillies fans ranting and raving up and down Broad St. this week screaming that Howard was robbed.

He wasn't. Pujols' NL-leading .653 slugging percentage and .462 on-base percentage (second in the NL) tell only part of the story. An essential part of the story, to be sure, but there is more.

Pujols remains the most feared hitter in the league, and no, his Cardinals did not make the playoffs. But they were in contention into September, because of him. Ryan Ludwick had a career season, because of him. All those meaty pitches Pujols didn't get -- he was second in the league in walks at 110 -- Ludwick, usually hitting after Pujols, did get. To Ludwick's credit, like a kid turned loose in a 31-flavors ice cream shop, he took full advantage.

Do you know where Howard ranked in walks? Fourteenth, with 81. He was neither as selective as Pujols nor as feared by opposing pitchers (Pujols drew exactly twice as many intentional walks as Howard, 34- 17). Yes, many of Pujols' intentional walks were because he didn't have Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell in the lineup -- he was much easier to pitch around. That's why this isn't a cornerstone of Pujols' case for MVP. But it is part of it.

Yes, Howard's scorching hot August and September helped push the Phillies past the New York Mets and into the playoffs. But his 199 strikeouts (second in the NL) also were part of the reason the Phillies took so long to get going this season -- and his pre-All-Star Game numbers, .234 batting average and 129 strikeouts -- hurt, not helped, the Phillies' case.

Look, Howard still had a fantastic season. Micro-analyzing these numbers to a degree sounds like nitpicking, because to a degree, it is.

But you've got to break down the numbers and, almost every way you break them down -- save for the RBI and homer totals -- they fall strongly toward Pujols.

As for Manny Ramirez -- more on him, too, in the fleshed-out column I'll file here before the afternoon is out -- yes, he was outstanding for two months. But he wasn't in the NL in April, May, June and July. And while the argument that the Dodgers don't make the playoffs without Manny certainly is valid, so, too, is this: They were 30-24 with him.

That's simply not enough to warrant more than he got -- a fourth-place finish. And there's certainly no shame in that.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com