12/09/08 1:50 PM EST
Dodgers, Boras meet to talk Manny
Agent calls team to resume negotiation, but contract length a sticking point
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
"We met and Manny was discussed," said Colletti. "They wanted us to know they were still interested in us, and we told them we're still interested in him, but they are still interested in the same kind of contract."
That means long-term, something the Dodgers are not interested in because of Ramirez's age (37 in May). Ramirez has been seeking a six-year deal.
Earlier Monday, Colletti said it was curious that the club had offered a contract and arbitration to the slugger, but received a response to neither.
"The next conversation ought to start with them," said Colletti.
Apparently it did, leading to the first meeting about Ramirez between the two sides since last month's General Managers Meetings.At those meetings, the Dodgers offered Ramirez a two-year, $45 million offer with a third-year option of $15 million, but withdrew it two weeks later when the exclusive negotiating period expired. Then the club offered Ramirez arbitration to re-sign for one year, but he did not accept. Earlier Monday, Colletti revealed increasing interest in the top free-agent pitcher available on the market, CC Sabathia, including a willingness to consider a contract longer than the three-year limit the current management team has instituted. Whether the Dodgers would be willing to sign two high-priced free agents, or were using interest in Sabathia to flush out Ramirez so they could clarify where they stand with him, is not yet known. Colletti said he made no new offer and offered no insight on what the next step would be with Ramirez or who would make it. With no other club known to be aggressively pursuing Ramirez, making a higher offer would have the Dodgers bidding against themselves.
"We don't need a next step today," he said. "As time goes on, we'll deal with what is next."
Despite only two months in the National League with the Dodgers, Ramirez finished fourth in voting for the league's Most Valuable Player Award, one vote short of third place Ryan Braun of Milwaukee.He pretty much carried the Dodgers into the postseason with a .396 average, 17 homers and 53 runs in 53 games, along with a .469 on-base percentage and .743 slugging percentage after his July 31 acquisition from Boston. Since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, only one Dodger (Duke Snider in 1953) had more homers, RBIs and a higher average in a 53-game span. Ramirez now has 527 home runs, 17th on the all-time list, and is 20th on the all-time RBI list with 1,725. His .396 average with the Dodgers was second highest for an in-season acquisition behind Cesar Cedeno, who hit .434 in 28 games in 1985. Ramirez's combined .332 average on the season was third in baseball behind Chipper Jones (.364) and Albert Pujols (.357), and he tied for fourth with 37 homers, was sixth with 121 RBIs, second with a .601 slugging percentage and fourth with a .430 on-base percentage. Although it doesn't count for MVP consideration, Ramirez continued the onslaught in the postseason, going 13-for-25 with four homers and 10 RBIs in eight games. He extended his MLB postseason records with his 28th homer, 12th in the League Championship Series play, and has an RBI in nine straight postseason games. He hit .533 (8-for-15) in the National League Championship Series with two homers and seven walks. He drove in seven of the Dodgers' 20 runs (35 percent), had 16 of their 64 total bases (25 percent), with a .682 on-base percentage and a 1.067 slugging percentage. Ramirez is one of only six players in MLB history with at least 12 seasons of 30 or more home runs and the only active player with home runs during the last decade is Alex Rodriguez.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.