Heyman "Breaks" Another Story
"Just a puppet on a lonely string
- Coldplay, Viva La Vida
In typical Heyman fashion, he wanted to make sure that everyone knew that "SI.com was the first to report that Varitek had an agreement with Boston." To that, I say "big deal." OK, maybe I didn't use the word "deal." I mean, this doesn't go down as some sort of exclusive or investigative reporting.
While the signing won't be officially announced until Varitek completes his physical, the Red Sox had placed a Friday deadline on an official proposal that was delivered via registered mail to him and agent Scott Boras on January 23. In other words, it was no secret that something was going to happen that day. Either Varitek was going to accept or reject Boston's offer.
If you're wondering how Heyman got wind of the news before any of the Boston beat writers or columnists, be aware that he had Mark Teixeira going to the Yankees before anyone else and, according to his biography, also "broke the story of Barry Bonds going to the Giants in 1992...Alex Rodriguez going to the Yankees in 2004, A-Rod opting out of his $252-million contract in 2007 and Manny Ramirez going to the Dodgers in 2008."
Varitek. Teixeira. Manny. A-Rod 2x. Bonds, vintage 1992. Do you notice anything in common? Yes, all of these players are or were represented by Boras at the time of their signings. It is plainly obvious that Heyman, known among fellow writers as scottboras.com, is getting fed such stories by Scott himself, which is fine and dandy except there is more going on here than meets the eye.
You see, Boras throws Heyman a bone on a Tek or Tex signing but also uses him to spread rumors about the level of interest and terms in ongoing free agent negotiations to create a false sense of demand. Teams that fall for this trick wind up competing against themselves, which is exactly what Boras desires.
While Boras is no fool, Heyman is a tool for the Scott Boras Corporation. Boras knows how to game the system to get the best deals for his clients and will gladly use Heyman as long as the latter plays along or until the market realizes what is going on. As it stands now, it's almost as if Heyman, who is no stranger to the Boras suites during the winter meetings, is on the SBC payroll.
You can see these shenanigans at work in Heyman's recent stories about a few other Boras clients, including Joe Crede, Oliver Perez, and Derek Lowe. But these are relatively innocent in comparison to following the Boras, Heyman & Co. saga as it relates to Manny.
Heyman not only is a mouthpiece for Boras but is wrong more often than he is right. Look, if you throw enough mud against the wall, some of it is bound to stick. That doesn't make you a soothsayer or the next Carl Bernstein or Bob Woodward.
The remaining stories are presented without comment as to let you be the judge (although I took the liberty to add emphasis for ease of reading).
While folks were understandably upset over Ramirez's terrible behavior leading up to the trade, no one could reasonably expect MLB to actually tie Ramirez's childish antics to Boras. Ramirez's lay-down behavior was so outrageous that MLB should indeed investigate him. But there's no belief from anyone credible that they'll find anything, certainly nothing against Boras. The reality is that Ramirez behaved beautifully for half a season under Boras, then became irritated over the club options that could tie him to Boston for two more years. But let's not forget that Ramirez's behavior had been erratic throughout his eight years in Boston, including long before he hired Boras, and Red Sox people have covered up a lot of it in the past. Is it possible that Boras mentioned to him that the club options in his Red Sox contract were not a good thing? It is. Will Boras benefit from the options being dropped? Presumably he will, assuming the erratic Ramirez stays with Boras for the signing of his next contract. But the real question is: Would Boras risk his seemingly excellent relationship with the Red Sox and overall reputation to orchestrate Ramirez's ridiculous behavior? According to one GM, it's just the opposite, that perhaps no agent is better than Boras at dealing with off-field issues of players. Anyway, the orchestration idea is farfetched and nothing more than misguided media musings advanced in some cases by sworn Boras enemies.
It's impossible to calculate the true worth of Manny. Though, I'm quite sure his agent Scott Boras will have an idea or two about that while shopping the good Manny around this winter.
Ramirez is believed to be seeking a six-year deal for as much as $25 million per year . . . Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, declined to name a target price in an interview with SI.com on Wednesday. That $150 million total price tag is an estimate based on Boras' use of the word "iconic'' to describe the 36-year-old Ramirez, combined with Ramirez's own constant mention of a "six-year deal'' during frequent media interviews this postseason.
The Dodgers' early interest in keeping Ramirez to a short (but rich) deal -- first reported by SI.com on Wednesday -- might explain Ramirez's rhetoric following the season in which he professed no special interest in staying in L.A., and candidly added that his only goal was in going to the highest bidder, especially one who'd like to give him a six-year deal. Perhaps by then Manny knew of L.A.'s intentions. In any case, the Manny Derby appears as to have opened up a tad. Though while Philly, the Jays and some others might make for an interesting alternative, it's still entirely possible that the battle for Manny and the other two mega-stars comes down to a competition between the two biggest markets -- New York and Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez should soon expect to receive a shorter offer at close to a record annual salary from the incumbent Dodgers, perhaps a two-year deal for near the $27.5-million Yankees salary of Alex Rodriguez, as SI.com reported several days ago.
One reason the Dodgers haven't yet made their official offer for superstar free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez is that his agent, Scott Boras, apparently isn't fielding offers that aren't in the ballpark of the five or six years that Manny wants.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti met with agent Scott Boras on Tuesday night and made an offer for Manny Ramirez. Colletti revealed in a meeting with reporters Wednesday that the offer would be the "second-highest average annual value in baseball."
The sides are so far apart that the Blue Jays, Orioles and perhaps the Yankees and other teams likely have moved ahead of the Dodgers in terms of their chances to win the services of the mercurial superstar.
Manny Ramirez still could have one chance to come home. While the Mets have all but decided they will not pursue the slugging savant from Washington Heights, in Upper Manhattan, the Yankees clearly have not ruled out a run at Ramirez.
There are those suggesting the Yankees are only in the running for Teixeira to either monitor the rival Red Sox or drive up the price for the switch-hitting slugger. But while it's true the Yankees don't appear as eager to sign Teixeira as the Angels and Red Sox, they do appear willing to sign him at the right price. After already signing CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett for $243.5 million combined, the Yankees appear disinclined to offer $200 million for Teixeira, which is what it may take to get him.
He seeks a deal for at least five years, and while that seems like a tall order for the 36-year-old star, even after hitting .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 53 games in Los Angeles, four years could be a possibility.
Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner is said by people close to him to want Manny Ramirez in pinstripes. Unlike his father, who dreaded dreadlocks, Steinbrenner the junior is said by a Yankees person "not to give a (hoot) about his hair.'' . . . the Yankees are mulling a run at Ramirez. The Dodgers have been pursuing Ramirez, and if the Angels miss out on Teixeira, they might join the Manny fray as well.
Teixeira, though, has said he intends to try to do a deal by Christmas, which means Manny's market should take off thereafter.
Manny Ramirez, OF. The Dodgers remain the favorite to keep Ramirez, but the rival Giants loom as a major threat. L.A. wants to keep it to two years but eventually gave in on a third year for Rafael Furcal, and will probably have to do the same with the man who saved the franchise last season. All along, San Francisco has said it might take a stab at one of the "big three'' (and the other two, Sabathia and Teixeira, are gone already), so it stands to reason that they're in for Ramirez, the perfect antidote for their moribund offense. The Angels say they're out, but he'll still be tempting for them as well. Then there's always that so-called mystery team to contend with.
The Giants have entered the bidding for free-agent superstar Manny Ramirez, SI.com has confirmed.
The Texas Rangers, who are capable of bold moves and would like to replace Milton Bradley's offense, are considering a pursuit of superstar free agent Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez is said to be working out in Pensacola, Fla., a few hours north of where he makes his winter home in Miami -- and patiently (yes, that's the word a friend of his used) waiting for a job. The Dodgers and Giants still look like the most logical landing spots, with L.A. still seen as the favorite. The Angels and Mets are still showing no signs of joining the fray, and Yankees partner Hal Steinbrenner is thought to be against signing Ramirez, so it's still possible it'll come down to a battle of West Coast rivals.
While the Dodgers have held to their two-year, $45 million offer for Manny Ramirez, the star slugger is still seeking a deal of at least twice that in length.
1. Manny Ramirez. The Man-child and the Dodgers appear to be in a stalemate, with the team holding at $45 million for two years and Ramirez wanting a deal for four or five years for between $25 million and $30 million per. The Giants, who are in excellent financial position, look like the biggest threat; although at least publicly they're saying they won't go crazy for Manny after diving into the market early. San Francisco already signed Edgar Renteria, Randy Johnson, Bobby Howry and Jerremy Affeldt, a commitment of more than $20 million for 2009, but if they don't get Ramirez the question has to be asked: Wouldn't that $20 million-plus have been better spent on Manny? The Angels and Mets say publicly that they won't go for Manny, while the Yankees already have upgraded their offense immensely with Mark Teixeira. So until further notice the two great West Coast rivals look like the favorites.
Now, if I can just convince Boras that Blyleven is worthy of the Hall of Fame...
Correction: Dennis Gilbert was Barry Bonds' agent in 1992, not Scott Boras.