Giants staying out of Manny sweeps
Team president: SF has talked 'concepts,' but no offer made
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In the wake of the Los Angeles Dodgers' latest contract offer to free agent Manny Ramirez, the Giants remained absent from the bidding Thursday.Team president Larry Baer said that club officials have exchanged voicemail messages in the last few days, most recently Thursday, with Scott Boras, Ramirez's agent. Baer said that the Giants have discussed "concepts" for an offer with Boras, but indicated that they they haven't submitted a formal proposal.
This is consistent with San Francisco's stated intent to avoid entering a sweepstakes for Ramirez, who was offered a two-year, $45 million package Wednesday by Los Angeles. Based on Baer's comments, Boras hasn't bothered trying to pit the Giants against the Dodgers."We haven't been asked to make an offer in the last couple of days," Baer said. "I don't want to characterize it really much beyond that. It's been consistent with, quite frankly, the last few weeks. ... There's nothing really new to report from our side." The Giants have been mentioned as the most likely team besides the Dodgers to sign Ramirez, the left fielder who would nicely fit into their cleanup spot and dramatically improve their chances of winning the National League West. Said Baer: "We've talked about it until we're literally blue in the face -- Dodger blue in the face -- that we've been in conversation with [Boras]. ... It hasn't been pushed beyond that." But the Giants don't feel that adding Ramirez is a must, though they ranked last in the Major Leagues in home runs and next to last in scoring a year ago. "We have to do what's right for the Giants," Baer said. "We have to make a compelling case that it's in the Giants' best interest to do it and that the resources it takes to do it don't hamstring us from doing other things." Baer pointed out that San Francisco moved aggressively early in the offseason to fill several roster needs by signing four free agents: relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Bob Howry, shortstop Edgar Renteria and left-hander Randy Johnson. Their contracts will cost the Giants approximately $25 million this season -- money that they could have devoted to Ramirez. But Baer defended the team's strategy of plugging multiple holes instead of just one. "It was methodical," Baer said. "We made the commitment to the fans that we were going to improve the team this year and move into what we think is a position to contend for the division." Citing Ramirez's considerable success with the Dodgers in last season's final two months and the organization's desire to bring him back, Baer said that he believes the slugger ultimately will return to Los Angeles.
"The forces of gravity may dictate that's where he ends up," Baer said.Ramirez did more than lead the Dodgers to the National League West title after they acquired him at the Trade Deadline. He also generated a noticeable boost in attendance and revenue for the club. Exactly how much added revenue the Dodgers received isn't known, but Baer is familiar with Boras' insistence that Ramirez will pay for himself. "We got the dial-a-lecture on that one," Baer jokingly said. Baer mentioned the nation's struggling economy as a factor in the Giants' restrained pursuit of Ramirez.
"In more flush times, the signing of a marquee player probably would have more of an impact," he said. "... There's a big difference between November and March in the economy, or in people's recognition of what the economy is. I think there's probably increasing concern among clubs."Baer didn't directly respond when asked how much Giants season-ticket sales have dwindled, though he implied that at least a slight decrease was expected. That was apparent when he addressed whether the club could match last year's season-ticket figure. "I think we'd have to go hard and some of it will be tied to team performance," Baer said. "So in other words, if we can get off to a good start, that'll have something to do with it."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.