08/02/08 10:01 PM ET
Manny on LA: 'I want to stay here'
Soon to be a free agent, Ramirez says money isn't motivator
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
"I love it," Ramirez said after one game with the Dodgers. "I feel at home already. Put the word on me -- I want to stay here. The weather is nice, the stadium is beautiful."
And so the free-agency hawking begins. Ramirez will be eligible to leave after this season, the final two option years of his contract at $20 million apiece wiped out in return for approving this week's trade from the Red Sox.
Whether the Dodgers are willing to pay anybody $20 million or more a season annually is doubtful, especially after what they've seen from Andruw Jones at $18.1 million a year. Ramirez, as polished with the media as he is at the plate, had a response for that.
"I've already made $160 million," he said. "I like it here. I'm looking for peace. I want to stay here. At the end of the season, if the Dodgers want me to end my career here, we'll sit down and talk. Time will tell."
Ramirez's tune could change if and when serious negotiations begin, but he insisted he is not motivated solely by money.
"I want peace," he said. "After the game [Friday night], I went out to dinner and nobody bothers you. In Boston, you go from the stadium straight home. That's what I'm talking about. Some people recognized me, said congratulations, that's it. I could go to the movies with my family. I've got nothing against Boston, but this is what I'm looking for. The game is supposed to be fun."
The implication being, of course, is that baseball no longer was fun for Ramirez in Boston.
Manager Joe Torre, going from New York to Los Angeles, said he knows what Ramirez means.
"It's hard for him to know that after one game, but I left New York and the first day at Spring Training, I loved it with the Dodgers," Torre said. "It's much different than he's used to. Maybe he'll enjoy what he's doing. I've enjoyed it here."
As for his first game with the Dodgers, Ramirez disagreed that he didn't hustle on a ball to the left-center gap by Chris Burke that went for a triple.
"I can't take that. What do you think I am, [Juan] Pierre?" he said. "I'm not that fast. I'm 5.3 to first base, remember?"
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.