It made for juicy speculation somewhere, but there's no way Manny Ramirez is accepting the Dodgers' arbitration offer.
If Ramirez did that, he'd basically be agreeing to a one-year contract for about $23-25 million after making $20 million last year and working hard (in the second half, anyway) and putting up huge numbers to be rid of two $20 million club options. Manny didn't even respond to the Dodgers' initial offer of $45 million over two years because he thought so little of it. So why would he take one year?
He wants a six-year deal, and while he isn't getting a six-year deal, a one-year deal is as far away as it gets from a six-year deal. To sum up: No shot.
Among the 24 players to receive arbitration offers, none of the big stars without injury issues will accept arbitration. That only makes sense. They can all get lucrative multiyear deals. That group includes CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe. Raul Ibanez and Orlando Hudson would also appear to fall into that category.
Players have until Sunday to decide whether to accept the club's offers to arbitrate.
There's a whole slew of middle relievers who were offered arbitration, and it's possible one or two or a few of them accept.
There's also an outside possibility a player or two of a higher ilk might consider accepting arbitration. I have heard media speculation (and in a couple cases baseball executive speculation) regarding about a half dozen pretty good players. But I'd be surprised if more than one or two of the non-relievers offered arbitration actually accepted arbitration. And I wouldn't be surprised if none of them did. The economy is bad. But baseball talent will still be paid on the open market.
That list of solid pitchers and players who have been speculated to consider their arbitration offers includes pitchers Jon Garland, Paul Byrd, Ben Sheets and Oliver Perez, shortstop Orlando Cabrera and catcher Jason Varitek. Here's my rundown of the six, with last year's salary:
1. Jon Garland (14-8, 4.90 ERA, $12 million). He could make a decent score in arbitration (probably $13-14 million), but seems likely to be able to get a multiyear deal. Probably a turn down.
2. Oliver Perez (10-7, 4.22 ERA, $6.5 million). The Mets are probably hoping he accepts. But even off a down year, Perez should be able to land a three-year deal somewhere, at the very least. No shot he takes arbitration.
3. Paul Byrd (11-12, 4.60 ERA, $7.5 million). Financially speaking, he should play it safe and take it. But he may not really seem himself as a Bostonian. I'd call this one no better than 50-50.
4. Orlando Cabrera (.281 avg., 8 HR, 57 RBIs, $10 million). Very nice player isn't wanted by the White Sox, which likes its cost-effective DP combo of Alexei Ramirez and Chris Getz. General manager Ken Williams apparently even suggested on a conference call that Cabrera could be a backup if he accepts. It would be interesting if he took it and got $11-12 million in arbitration. But if Edgar Renetria can get $18.5 over two years, I have to think Cabrera can do even better than that. Less than 50-50.
5. Jason Varitek (.220 avg., 13 HR, 43 RBIs, $10.4 million). He had a terrible year offensively and would likely have to settled for the same salary in arbitration. The guess here is he can still do better than that outside the arbitration arena. He'll turn it down.
6. Ben Sheets (13-9, 3.09 ERA, $12 million). Sheets is a terrific pitcher who had the misfortune to suffer an injury at the very end of the year. Of all these players, arbitration makes the most sense for him since he can get $15 million off his numbers and his career, and come back to possibly produce a problem-free season. But someone may give him two or three years if they determine he isn't too big a risk. 50-50.