Last week, ESPN's Buster Olney opined that a team interested in Manny Ramirez this offseason should present him with an incentive-laden contract to ensure that he will maintain his focus. Olney suggests a base salary of $800K to $1MM with incentives based on plate appearances.
While major league GMs likely wouldn't object to such a deal, one has to imagine that Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, would. As Tim Dierkes pointed out, last winter Boras was able to land $3.3MM and $2MM guarantees for Xavier Nady and Alex Cora, respectively. After coming off of a two-year, $45MM deal, it's probable that Ramirez can fetch a higher guaranteed salary on the open market.
However, Ramirez has now left two baseball towns on a sour note twice in recent years. Ramirez's struggles in the outfield and advanced age also mean that he's likely to remain in the American League as a designated hitter. Ramirez, who has a career UZR/150 of -20.0 in the outfield, told Dodgers skipper Joe Torre that he feels that he belongs in the AL before his departure to Chicago. In essence, this probably cuts the slugger's list of prospective suitors in half; minus one if you want to nix Boston from the group.
While Olney's idea was a suggestion and not necessarily a prediction, it does raise the question of whether Ramirez might be forced to take on that type of deal. Rather than $1MM, we'll set the over/under a little bit higher.
Will Ramirez end up taking a one-year deal with a base of less than $3MM?