12/30/08 11:43 PM EST
Manny's agent contacts Dodgers
Boras' interest in outfielder's return to LA shared by GM Colletti
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
General manager Ned Colletti said he received a voicemail from Scott Boras in regards to Ramirez, the first contact between the two sides on the free-agent outfielder since a session at the Winter Meetings went nowhere earlier this month.
"He left me a voicemail about an hour ago," a raspy Colletti, fighting off laryngitis, said Tuesday night. "I'm sure we'll talk in the next few days. Hopefully, I'll have my voice back."
The market for Ramirez has been essentially non-existent. The Dodgers' two-year, $45 million offer with a $15 million third-year option -- made in October and withdrawn soon after their window of negotiating exclusivity closed on Nov. 14 -- remains the only one yet extended to the slugger, who turns 37 next year.
Ramirez never responded to that offer. The sides spoke briefly at the Winter Meetings, with Ramirez still seeking a long-term deal. Colletti would not say whether the club's stance on the term of the contract had changed. Without the designated-hitter rule providing a transitional role for Ramirez in the National League, the Dodgers have been reluctant to guarantee a huge salary to a position player approaching 40 years old. Ramirez would be 40 during the fourth year of a contract.
Boras confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that he expects the market for Ramirez to warm up "with the end of the holiday season and the signing of Mark Teixeira." Boras said he reached out to the club after reading in The Times that Colletti had said Ramirez was still the Dodgers' first choice, repeating a comment Colletti has been making since the season ended.
Despite only two months in the National League with the Dodgers, Ramirez finished fourth in voting for the league's Most Valuable Player Award, one vote short of third-place Ryan Braun of Milwaukee.
Ramirez pretty much carried the Dodgers into the postseason with a .396 average, 17 homers and 53 runs in 53 games, along with a .469 on-base percentage and .743 slugging percentage after his July 31 acquisition from Boston. Since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, only one Dodgers player (Duke Snider in 1953) had more homers, RBIs and a higher average in a 53-game span.
Ramirez has 527 career home runs, 17th on the all-time list, and is 20th on the all-time RBI list with 1,725. His .396 average with the Dodgers was second highest for an in-season acquisition behind Cesar Cedeno, who hit .434 in 28 games in 1985. Ramirez's combined .332 average on the season was third in baseball behind Chipper Jones (.364) and Albert Pujols (.357), he tied for fourth with 37 homers, was sixth with 121 RBIs, second with a .601 slugging percentage and fourth with a .430 on-base percentage.
Although it doesn't count for MVP consideration, Ramirez continued the onslaught in the postseason, going 13-for-25 with four homers and 10 RBIs in eight games. He extended his MLB postseason records with his 28th homer, 12 in the League Championship Series and has an RBI in nine straight postseason games.
He hit .533 (8-for-15) in the National League Championship Series with two homers and seven walks. He drove in seven of the Dodgers' 20 runs (35 percent), had 16 of their 64 total bases (25 percent), with a .682 on-base percentage and a 1.067 slugging percentage.
Ramirez is one of only six players in MLB history with at least 12 seasons of 30 or more home runs and the only active player with more home runs during the last decade is Alex Rodriguez.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.