Should Dodgers Re-Sign Ramirez?

Owner Frank McCourt is non-committal. General Manager Ned Colletti says is could get done. But three Los Angeles Times columnists, Bill Plaschke, Bill Shaiken and Ross Newhan, said the club could not justify the necessary money needed to re-sign slugger Manny Ramirez. Dodger players and Dodger fans might disagree.

The Times argument goes that McCourt can justify paying big bucks to keep Manny's smiling face in the clubhouse and his big bat in the lineup, but it doesn't equate to dollars spent.

This winter, when McCourt, Colletti and Ramirez's agent Scott Boras negotiate over how much the Dodgers should pay Ramirez in a possible new contract, the numbers under discussion will range far beyond home runs and runs batted in.

The Dodgers made millions on Ramirez this season, basically because the Red Sox paid his entire $7 million salary. However, The Times estimate that in ticket sales, parking, food, drink and merchandise, they made an estimated $7.6 million, despite, as the paper said, "Ramirez moved merchandise like no Dodgers player since Eric Gagné and sold tickets like no Dodgers player since Fernando Valenzuela.

The average attendance jumped by 4,288 after Manny arrived. At an average ticket price of $29.66, according to Team Marketing Report, that's an additional $3.2 million in revenue. With fans spending roughly $17 a person on food, drink and parking, that's another $1.8 million.

They estimate Manny's presence sold 14,000 t-shirts, 6,000 dreadlocks and 500 authentic jerseys, another $700,000 in revenue. That added another $1.9 million in food, drink and parking.

The Dodgers could legitimately argue those figures should be lower, because the numbers assume the attendance increase is entirely attributable to Ramirez, not the remarkable late season surge to the NL West title.

Then there will be millions more in revenue from playoff games at Dodger Stadium, ticket renewals, advertising and corporate sponsorship. Anonymous sources say the Dodgers could reap as much as $15 million from Ramirez this season.

Plaschke points out that although acquiring Ramirez is one of the best trades in Dodgers history, the Dodgers should not allow these two months to sucker them into signing him to the rich long-term deal he will demand, and if they do, the trade will be one of their worst.

"He is a brilliant, Hall of Fame hitter. He is also a 36-year-old man with aching knees who will want the Dodgers to pay him until he is beyond 40. He has feasted on National League pitching, loved National League ballparks. But because of his fielding problems, he will soon be needing the comfort of an American League designated-hitter role," Plaschke wrote.

Colletti said, "He has been great in every area, I can't think of any way that I've been disappointed."

But when asked if he would like to have Ramirez back, Colletti paused.

If the Dodgers could get him for a two-year deal, fine. But if he wants more -- and he will want more, at least five years for at least $100 million -- then forget it.

Manny can't pitch, Plaschke reasons.

He advocates paying the same sort of money to a player but not Manny -- instead to pitcher CC Sabathia with the thought that Brad Penny and Derek Lowe may not be in Dodger Blue next year.

But even if he leads the Dodgers to a World Series championship, the ending has to be the same he said. "In Mannywood, as in Hollywood, the hero needs to ride gracefully into the sunset."

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