A couple of things happened today that seem to bode well for the return of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers:
1) The Yankees signed Mark Teixeira to an 8-year, $180 million deal
With Tex entrenched at 1B, the Yankees now have five players for four spots (outfield and DH):
Hideki Matsui - $13 million for 2009
Johnny Damon - $13 million for 2009
Nick Swisher - $5.3 million for 2009
Xavier Nady - arbitration eligible
Melky Cabrera - arbitration eligible
I don't want to put anything past the mighty Yankee empire, but it's fair to assume they will not be in the market for Manny. They have to have some limit, right?
2) The Angels publicly stated they are out of the Manny sweepstakes
Normally, statements issued by GMs or other team executives are vague, leaving some wiggle room either way. However, Angels' GM and noted Del Taco fan Tony Reagins had this choice quote today:
"With Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Matthews Jr., Reggie Willits, our outfield is intact. It will not happen. We are not going to sign Manny Ramirez. End of story."
That seems pretty ironclad to me that the Angels are also out of the Manny bidding.
We already know the Red Sox are not going to sign Manny Ramirez; too many bridges were burned in that exit, by both sides. To me, that leaves three teams with a realistic chance to sign Mr. Ramirez:
1) Mets: They have said they are not interested in Manny, although in less certain terms than Reagins
2) Orioles: They missed out on Teixeira, but they have the ability to shift Manny to DH down the line. Maybe they would offer a longer deal to Manny, but would Manny want to go to Baltimore?
3) Dodgers: The Dodgers, to date, are the only team to even offer a contract to Manny. I'm intrigued that Ned Colletti hasn't bid against himself, and it looks like his patience has paid off.
At this point, I would be shocked if Manny Ramirez isn't wearing number 99 for the Dodgers on April 6 in San Diego. And I'll be there in attendance, most likely wearing the same jersey.