Manny, Dodgers agree to $45M deal
After months of back-and-forth negotiations, a meeting Wednesday between Manny Ramirez, his agents and Los Angeles Dodgers management has culminated in a deal in principle with the slugger for $45 million over two years.
Only Ken Griffey Jr. has more career RBIs than Manny Ramirez among active major league players.
|Ken Griffey Jr.||1,772|
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti would not confirm that a deal had been reached, but sources said the only remaining obstacle is for Ramirez to pass his physical in Los Angeles.
"We got a great meeting," Ramirez told KCAL-TV as he emerged from his physical in suburban Inglewood. "I'm happy to be here. We got some unfinished business, and that's why I'm here."
Ramirez was expected to undergo the exam later Wednesday in Los Angeles. If it goes accordingly, the Dodgers might make an announcement either later in the day or Thursday.
"We're close to getting Manny on the field, and I think he's basically chomping at the bit to get the uniform on," Dodgers manager Joe Torre told reporters from spring training in Glendale, Ariz.
Torre added: "We all wanted the same thing and that's what was apparent to me.
"After last year and the time he spent with us, we knew we wanted him back. It was just a matter of finding that common ground," Torre said. "As Ned said, you talk on the phone and to different people, you need to get face-to-face. It was a real good meeting. There was a lot of comfortable conversation."
According to MLB.com, $25 million of the contract is deferred over five years and Ramirez has the right to opt out of the deal after one year. According to The Associated Press, Ramirez has full no-trade protection.
"We're trying to build a team here that fights together and sticks together and so it was imperative that we sit down with who would obviously be a very important member of the team," Colletti said from Glendale, Ariz.
The outfielder, his agents Scott Boras and Mike Fiore, owner Frank McCourt, Torre, Colletti and chief operating officer Dennis Mannion met at McCourt's home in the Los Angeles area beginning at 6 a.m. for 90 minutes Wednesday morning. The talks were Ramirez's first with management face to face in the wake of last week's failed -- and contentious -- negotiations between the club and Boras.
"We felt it was worthwhile just to make sure we were on the same page," Colletti said. "We needed to put the personality back into it. We had four months of negotiating and there were so many different things in the press all the time. We wanted to have it one on one and more personal."
Los Angeles announced last week that Ramirez declined its latest offer, a $25 million, one-year contract with a $20 million player option for 2010. That deal would have included deferred payments of $10 million each in 2011 and 2012 and $5 million in 2013.
Boras countered with a proposal that included no deferred money, leaving the sides about $3 million apart in present-day value. At the time, a frustrated McCourt told reporters that any negotiations going forward would "start from scratch."
Following his trade to Los Angeles at the deadline last July, Ramirez led the Dodgers to the NL West title, hitting .396 with 17 home runs, 53 RBIs, 36 runs scored, 74 hits and 35 walks in 53 regular-season games.
Ramirez was even more potent in the postseason, hitting .520 with four homers, 10 RBIs, nine runs scored and 11 walks in eight playoff games.
The 12-time All-Star has hit 527 career homers, with another 28 in the postseason.
Preparations for Ramirez's arrival at Camelback Ranch were already under way. The nameplate on the clubhouse locker next to shortstop Rafael Furcal's went from being blank to having "Reserved #" attached to it.
"I had people calling me from the Dominican saying that Manny had signed but how they know, I'm here and I don't know. Then I came in and saw [the nameplate], and I knew something was up," Furcal said.
"A guy like Manny, you learn a lot of stuff from him. He's the best hitter in the game. Everyone is happy."
Ramirez's fun-loving attitude created a noticeable change in the Dodgers' clubhouse last season, and infielder Blake DeWitt expects the same again.
"He's one of, if not the best, hitter in the game, and a guy like that has a ripple effect," he said. "We have a great group and when you add a guy like that who has fun and keeps everyone loose it's just going to make it that much better. It rubs off."
Information from ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, Jayson Stark and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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