We’re not sure where Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford will end up just yet, but most of us can agree that both will likely cross the $100 million threshold. As for the future of Manny Ramirez, you’ll get a different take from just about everybody.
One day after suggesting that Ramirez may have to accept a base salary of $800,000 with incentives, Buster Olney of ESPN.com sought opinions from a host of talent evaluators, scouts, executives and general managers. Here’s what one “NL evaluator” had to say:
“I could see him getting $2-3 million base with incentives that could earn him between $5-10 million. The other thing is, this is a guy who is so obstinate and kooky, he may decide if he doesn’t get the deal he likes he just won’t play.”
If a bunch of teams are only offering him $800,000 guaranteed, I wouldn’t blame him. The thing is, it would be their loss. Sure, Ramirez turns 39 next May, was hurt an awful lot this past season and his bat looked pretty slow during his time with the White Sox, but he still managed to hit .298/.409/.460 with an 870 OPS. Not too shabby.
Considering that the average American League DH hit a modest .252/.332/.426 in 2010, Ramirez looks like a potential bargain, even in the midst of his decline.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.
Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.
Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.
There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.