Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Are the Dodgers Manny's only option?

With the New York Yankees putting a stranglehold on the rest of Major League Baseball by signing Mark Teixeira yesterday for a boatload of cash (like they always do...), Manny Ramirez may have just found his way back in Dodger blue by default.

The Dodgers are still officially the only team to have offered Manny a contract, which has since been pulled. It was for 2 years and $45 million with an option for a 3rd year. Thanks, but no thanks, was the response. He was still holding out hope for a much longer deal, ala the type of deals the Yankees gave to C.C. Sabathia and Teixeira.

The Angels and Mets have been been linked to him, but they have passed. The Angels say they're looking elsewhere, and the rumor in New York is that Omar Minaya can't talk ownership into going after him. The Yankees? Maybe even they can't afford to spend more money at this point.

So that leaves LA (the real LA team, not the one stealing the name in a cheap ploy to get more recognition). Now that leaves the Dodgers with another big question: do they really want him back?

It's obvious they're not going to throw long contracts out there, which is why they passed on all the big name stars. They have the money, but not the patience to sit through more could-be Juan Pierre/Jason Schmidt results. And let's not forget about the Andruw Jones debacle, but at least that's only a 2-year deal. For those reasons, I can't at all blame the Dodgers for their approach to go with short deals and continue to develop from within.

But there's the problem - building from within was getting them a .500 ballclub last season until Manny arrived. The rest is history. As Dodger fans, how could they accept anything other than bringing him back? Even by making their youth movement known to the world, it'd be a tough sell to the fans that they are really trying to win if they don't make another offer to him.

Of course, anything can change, as we've seen with both Teixeira and Rafael Furcal supposedly signing with one team only to go with another. But if the Dodgers truly are the only team left for Manny to go to, both sides really have no choice but to see #99 back in left field at Dodger Stadium.

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