It's never just about the numbers with Manny Ramirez. Whether it's dreadlocks, PED suspensions or oddly-timed high fives, the Dodgers' left fielder stands out. When Manny becomes a free agent after the season, numbers will only tell part of his story, but agent Scott Boras is probably hoping for a little more production in the season's final four months.
It's not that Manny has played poorly. His .289/.395/.443 line is considerably better than average, though his defense has been underwhelming once again. This year has fallen short of the monster seasons we're used to seeing from Manny, but that .395 on base percentage would be 18th-best in the majors if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Despite his injury history, Nick Johnson (who doesn't have Manny's power) turned a high OBP into a 5.75MM guarantee last winter.
That's a lot less than the $20MM Manny will pocket this season, but let's face it: 38-year-olds who don't play defense aren't going to command $20MM contracts in this market. Boras can point to Manny's drawing power (he could reach 600 homers next year), his on-base skills and his power and that would presumably be enough to develop interest in Ramirez.
If it were as simple as comparing Manny to other DH-types like Johnson, Hideki Matsui and Vladimir Guerrero, Ramirez would appear to be in line for a modest one-year deal, perhaps in the $7-8MM range. But if we've learned anything about Manny, it's that he's tough to predict. Does he still want to play five more years? Does he want to return to Cleveland? Is this really his last season in a Dodgers uniform? Until those questions are answered, predicting the market for Manny isn't much easier than predicting his next quirky move.