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Monday, March 9, 2009
Three Strikes: Manny's bottom line edition


STRIKE ONE -- MANNY'S BOTTOM LINE DEPT.: I hope Manny Ramirez thinks it was worth it.

I hope, deep down, he thinks his antics in Boston this past summer were really worth the friendships he blew up, the reputation he obliterated (everywhere but in L.A.) and the little extra money he got out of it.

Since I forgot to get my MBA again this week, I'm not exactly the ultimate expert on the present-value dollar difference between the two-year, $45 million contract Manny signed with the Dodgers last week and the $40 million he would have made for two years in Boston.

But luckily, I have readers who actually know this stuff. So here are the computations of loyal reader Neil Baumgarten, who describes himself as a "finance guy."

• MANNY'S OLD CONTRACT: Two years, $40 million computes to a present-day value of $39.05 million, Baumgarten estimates.

-- Present-day value after taxes: $19.52 million.

-- Present-day value after the commission to his previous agent: $17.96 million.

• MANNY'S NEW CONTRACT: Two years, $45 million -- but with $25 million of that $45 million deferred at 0 percent interest. So the present-day value would be $41.1 million.

-- Present-day value after taxes: $20.57 million.

-- Present-day value after the commission to Scott Boras: $18.92 million.

• SO THE DIFFERENCE IS: Just under a million bucks, basically -- or $961,064, to be exact -- is all Manny really got out of this. That's the real difference between the money he'll earn in this contract versus the dollars he could have had under his old contract.

Meanwhile, assuming Boras gets a 4 percent commission, he'll take in $1.8 million -- or possibly $1.65 million, if it's paid out over five years in exactly the same proportion as Manny's deal.

Even if Boras gets taxed at 50 percent on his take, he'll still wind up profiting from this negotiation at almost the same level that his client will -- if only because he would have gotten zero dollars if Manny had honored his previous contract.

So I'll ask again: Was it worth it?

Manny sure seems happier in L.A. than he did at his previous destination. But, as the Red Sox found out a year ago, a lot can change between spring training and the finish line.

STRIKE TWO -- REPLACING A-ROD DEPT.: There's a fascinating piece on this site, by our friends at Baseball Prospectus, that reports that Alex Rodriguez is not one of the 10 most irreplaceable players in baseball. If you're an Insider, you can read that story here.

But whether A-Rod ranks in the top 10 or not, losing him for a month leaves a hole that's impossible for the Yankees to fill. And that's one reason there are no indications so far that they're even in the market for a big-name replacement.

We can sum this up this way: The Yankees are estimating that A-Rod will be out anywhere from six to nine weeks. So say he doesn't return to the lineup for 7 weeks from the date of his surgery. That would put him on pace to come back around May 1.

Well, two years ago, he had 14 homers by May 1. Just to give you an idea how tough it is to find that kind of production at third base, that's more homers than the third basemen for the A's, Blue Jays, Giants, Indians, Angels and Twins hit all season last year.

In fact, it's four more home runs than the Twins' and Angels' third basemen hit combined.

So, who is there that the Yankees could trade for to make up for what they're losing? Nobody. That's who.

They might still add a third baseman of some size or shape before Opening Day. But it doesn't appear they're even attempting to make a major deal, for one simple reason: This is a vacancy they can't possibly fill.

"Alex is one of those guys," general manager Brian Cashman, "who … you do the best you possibly can to cushion the blow. But you can't replace a guy like Alex Rodriguez."

STRIKE THREE -- SPRING FEVER DEPT.:

BOX SCORE LINES NOT TO BE MISSED:

• The Mets' Tim Redding, Sunday against the University of Michigan: 1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 HR. Redding's postgame assessment of his work against those mighty Wolverines: "It's the first outing. Who cares?"

Joba Chamberlain, Thursday against Team Canada: 0 IP, 1 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 0 K, 1 WP. Afterward, in a line right out of the spring-training-only quotebook, Chamberlain announced he "felt better, physically, than I have all spring." But it's still kind of mind-boggling to see a line in which this guy gives up five runs on a day in which he doesn't even get an out. For the record, he didn't allow the fifth run of his whole regular-season career until his 34th appearance -- covering 37 1/3 innings.

• Finally, if you're wondering why there's so much buzz about Braves prospect Tommy Hanson, check out this line Sunday against the Phillies: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. That's 17 hitters faced, only 10 of whom even put a ball in play, if you're scoring at home. "Pure domination," one scout said.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

From Pirates coach-witticist Rich Donnelly, on Team Holland pitching coach Bert Blyleven: "The closest Bert's come to a windmill is a miniature golf course."