Now that the Yankees appear to have finished their spending spree this offseason, attention turns to the rest of the free agent pool. Most notably, Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi. (Disclaimer: I never really assume the Yankees have ever stopped spending money, that’s why I used the word “appear.”) But back to the free agents.
Buster Olney addresses the Ramirez situation quite nicely in his blog. How can any team offer him what he wants (4 years $100 Million) when it doesn’t need to and because of the risk involved. ESPN has reported that the Dodgers have reopened negotiations with Ramirez, although its doubted they will offer him the $22.5 Million per season they had in November. Since the only top outfielders left are Abreu and Dunn, its clear that no other outfielder will get anywhere above $14 Million – thus simple economics teaches us that the price for Ramirez should come down, possibly to around $18 Million.
But then again, here we are questioning the risk behind having Ramirez on your team: How do we know Manny will play hard; especially if he is given a salary less then he wanted? Because of this, Olney asks in his blog if it would be worth it for the Dodgers to overpay for Ramirez in order to ensure he is happy and plays hard. This is a tough question to ask and supports why I was scared when I heard the Yankees were interested in Ramirez and Derek Jeter say Manny would be a good fit for the team. Scared because the man is too volatile. He has amazing skill, but not the attitude the Yankees need or want. We needed a work horse. The type of guy that Sabathia and Teixeira embody. Not a guy who takes a bathroom break in the green monster during a stoppage in play.
Its in this situation, that I am glad I am not a general manager. Ramirez at his best would be a great addition to any team but how do we know we get the best every game? Or even at least half of them? Is an extra $7 Million/year worth it?
So here comes Adam Dunn into the situation. Dunn has quietly made himself into quite the commodity. Not the most amazing player but someone who is a decent hitter and can be an average outfielder. Best of all, he probably comes at a bargain price of $12-14 Million, simply because of how horrible the market is for outfielders. This is a steal.
Then we are left with Bobby Abreu. Poor, poor Bobby Abreu. The man made a cool $16 Million with the Yankees last season. This year, he’ll be lucky to get $10 Million. Olney thinks he’ll get $8 Mil. Either way, that’s a steal. The man was clutch for the Yankees last year, one of our only consistent hitters. He is slow on defense, but most corner outfielders are these days.
The market is even bad for pitchers and infielders. Very few teams seem to be interested in Derek Lowe, and Scott “obnoxious” Boras (Lowe’s agent) wanted $18 Million for him. Granted Boras always wants the moon and the stars for his clients, but still, the market for Lowe is very, well, low. Only the Mets appear to have made an offer, and that’s rumored to be in the $12 Mil/year range.
And Jason Giambi – who, by the way, I still think should call Hal Steinbrenner up and say, “Listen, I owe you guys for paying me $160 Million over eight seasons, even though I was only worth it for 2 because I turned out to be a juicer who lost his power when I stopped the juice. So, I will play for you for free,” Giambi will be lucky to get double digit millions. And I cannot find any team who appears to be interested in him at this point. He is 38 and a former juicer. At the most, he’s got 2 years left. And that’s not saying much, considering he’ll probably hit only .260.