The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 50.0°F | Light Rain

Ramirez Wants Out, But Which Ball Team Will Take Him In?

By Yong-yi Zhu

COLUMNIST

The Red Sox decided that $101.5 million was too much to eat up in order to keep the league’s best hitter on their team. So, the team put Manny Ramirez on irrevocable waivers until 1 p.m., Oct. 31. That means that any team can take Manny, but his contract comes with him. Manny originally signed an eight-year, $160 million contract with the Boston Red Sox on December 13, 2000.

At the time, it didn’t seem outrageous. After all, Alex Rodriguez was to follow that act with his own 10 year, $252 million bonanza. Boy the times sure have changed.

The prices on players are no longer sky-rocketing. Instead, they’ve reached the stage where $10 million a year seems to cap the pricing on top name players. Players like Vlad Guerrero, Miguel Tejada, and Gary Sheffield are only expected to make about that much on the open market. Nothing, not even Scott Boras, can change that trend now. It seems that the Oakland A’s technique of getting players cheap has caught on with the rest of the sport.

It has become a necessity. You can no longer keep up with the better teams just by spending all your money on a couple of good hitters. Nowadays, a good team has no holes in the lineup. It used to be that only the Yankees were capable of generating such a thing with regularity, but currently, this applies to most good teams in the majors. Even some of the less successful teams have quite potent lineups.

The Red Sox did have one of the best lineups in all of baseball. Next year, they can come close to accomplishing the same. However, there are other problems with keeping Manny Ramirez, for one, Manny wants to play for the Yankees.

It’s no big surprise that Manny doesn’t want to play for the Red Sox. Why would anyone play for an organization that puts so much pressure on you with every move you make? If you don’t catch a ball, you get booed by the fans. If you hit a home run, you get booed by the fans. If you don’t win the World Series, you get booed by the fans. It must be tough to play like that.

Even New York would be a better city to play baseball in. Sure, the Boss is constantly hounding his players, just look at Juan Acevedo and Jeff Weaver. But he also hounds them mainly for terrible performance; once again see Acevedo and Weaver.

The Red Sox players are rather different. Take the situation with Grady Little for instance. I was in my dorm playing around with a ball when I was approached by someone commenting on how Grady Little had messed it all up. “One-hundred and fifteen pitches,” they said, and I simply nodded.

Give Grady a bit of respect. Please. Did he not get the team all the way to the ALCS? Did he not almost beat the Yankees? Come on guys, he’s not the worst thing to happen to the Red Sox.

So it’s no wonder that Manny Ramirez wants to play for the Yankees. He doesn’t want the risk of taking the blame of an entire “nation” upon his shoulders.

Yet, his actions actually suggest otherwise. Manny has constantly wanted the organization to trade him, and eat some of his salary in the process. He won’t negotiate a lower contract, and his agent Jeff Moorad won’t allow Manny to negotiate a new contract. They both know that the $20 million a year deal will never be found again, and Manny better take it while it lasts. He is the second highest paid player in the sport after all.

This puts the Red Sox in a rather precarious position. They have an unhappy player who wants to leave, yet they can’t possibly get anything equal in trading him. Their only choice appeared to simply pay Manny to play for the rest of his contract unless some lucrative deal came along.

Then again, they figured that just having him leave with his big payday is fine as well. The Red Sox did the smartest thing that they could by putting him on irrevocable waivers. They showed Manny that nobody was willing to take him at the price that he came with. Not even those rich Yankees.

This could cause Manny to be more cooperative in negotiating, if he truly is unhappy. It’s quite a delicate balance between money and happiness.

My advice for Manny is to stop being such a moneygrubber. Not everyone can have a happy life or tons of money, and he wants both. Well, talk about being selfish.