In contrast with the long, money-crazed process of signing Manny, as is almost commonplace today in the majors, I was blown away at the refreshing attitude of pitcher Randy Wolf on his recent signing with the Dodgers.
Wolf originally thought he’d be signing with the Astros for $28.5 million over three years, but instead signed with L.A. with a a one-year, $5 million deal with $3 million in incentives. That’s quite a difference from what he originally hoped for, but ahem, quite a bit more than our multiple-college-degree-household’s income.
When he was on the Dodgers before, I always got the vibe that Wolf seemed like a nice guy, and this NY Times article sure hints at that again. The article quotes Randy as saying,
“I play major league baseball. It may not be under what the contract was that the Astros offered, but I make a very good living and I get to do what I love to do. With people losing their jobs, and they’re making $40,000 a year and they’re working their tails off 12 months a year to make ends meet, and they get laid off, it’s not right for me to complain about a contract. It’s exciting, I saw what happened last year and how they played the second half of the year. I’m 15 minutes from the ballpark. I get to live at home. I get to go to Dodger Stadium every day.”
Finally, a player who publicly recognizes the reality of how blessed his situation is.
As a regular, working stiff, I can only dream of how I would spend $45 million. But for the Dodgers, they may have just bought themselves a second consecutive National League West pennant for that exact price. After four months of deliberation, the Dodgers and Manny Ramirez agreed to a 2-year deal worth $45 million.
While the arguments will continue on whether or not Manny’s services are worth the price the Dodgers have paid, this contract could be considered a small victory for teams that have the unfortunate experience of dealing with Scott Boras, Ramirez’s agent. When the negotiations began last fall, the initial offer the Dodgers made to Manny’s camp was a 2-year deal for $45 million with an option for a third year. Scott Boras initially scoffed at this offer, indicating that he was waiting for “serious offers” to come in. In the end, the Dodgers called Boras’ bluff and signed Manny for the original amount offered.
As an avid Dogers fan, I can only hope that the well-behaved Manny from August, September, and October of last year is the one that shows up this year. He is a proven hitting savant and his on-field contributions during the Dodgers’ postseason run in the fall of 2008 left Dodgers fans everywhere longing for more Manny-mania. There is no doubt that the Dodgers will sell more tickets and merchandise as a direct result of this signing. Even Chiquita got into the act last year when we attended a Dodgers/Rockies game at Coors Field.
Now that the negotiations are over and Manny has returned to the Dodgers, the focus will (hopefully) shift from business to baseball. I look forward to watching Manny mash as the Dodgers attempt to defend their NL West title and ultimately win a World Series.