Boras comments on Manny … and Brad Penny officially files for free agency

Below is the transcript of an interview XM Satellite’s Chuck Wilson did today with Scott Boras on MLB Homeplate. I didn’t actually HEAR this interview, just received the transcript in my in-box. Notice how long his answers are. This is Scott’s standard M.O., to answer questions with these long monologues, usually delivered at a rapid pace. … Brad Penny officially filed today, the day after the Dodgers rejected his option year. Club could re-sign him, but it’s highly unlikely. He was the longest-tenured member of the Dodgers.

Here’s the Boras interview:

On Manny Ramirez’s prospects in free agency and the reported offer by the LA Dodgers:

Host, Chuck Wilson: “Obviously the main topic today is Manny Ramirez and the supposed two-year contract that [the Dodgers] have offered [for] $50 million. Obviously, you’re not going to give us specifics but what do you do from here and do you foresee this being a long process with Manny, trying to sign him with a club?”

Boras: “We’re really not even in the negotiating mode now. We’re in the information taking mode, trying to determine what the plan is for a variety of Major League teams coming in to the 2009 season. The teams have had their meetings. My job is now to extract what their plans are and see if we have any fits for our clients with those respective teams. I think the publicizing of an offer and bringing those to light, there may be reasons why that’s done. I know when I go to do a negotiation my job is to look at the substance of what is fair and what should a player expect? What are the reasons behind an evaluation for value? When you look at Manny Ramirez, he’s probably the greatest right-handed hitter in the game, and he’s a historic hitter, a future Hall-of-Famer. He’s helped two teams get to their respective League Championship Series. His pedigree in the post-season is, frankly, unmatched by even great players like A-Rod or a Barry Bonds. The only reason I raise those players’ names is that Barry Bonds serves as an example of market fairness and what a Major League team did to a player who is an extraordinary performer and also had the ability to pay for himself in that Barry Bonds put fans in the seats, he was a franchise player in San Francisco, and at a year older than Manny Ramirez he got a five year contract. Alex Rodriguez is a player who is obviously a very special player, a unique player in the game, and he also got a contract that paid him to the age of 42. So people ask me about barometers. What do you use to try to attach to a sense of fairness about what other Major League teams do? And I’ve used those two examples just to illustrate what substantively we can look at to say, ‘How do you fairly gauge the process? What’s a player worth, and why?’”

On whether the way Manny Ramirez left Boston will impact future contract negotiations:

Host, Chuck Wilson: “Obviously you have a lot of strong evidence to be able to show a club as to what Manny Ramirez can mean because we saw that with the LA Dodgers, the re-energizing of a franchise, the incredible numbers, what he meant in the clubhouse, what he did from a marketing standpoint. There is some tremendous upside there. There is the flip side and I want to find out from you what your explanation is for what happened in Boston that really cannot be explained away by simply saying he had a problem with management. It went much deeper than that. The Red Sox reached a point where they really did not feel that Manny was giving his all and it wasn’t just management that was feeling that way or even the manager or coaches. We’re talking about the players on his team. They liked him as a teammate and even at the end they felt it would be best to part company. What about that side of it in trying to get a long term contract and convince people that he’s going to stay motivated throughout that length of the contract and be able to deliver?”

Boras: “I think, Chuck, that the best thing you can say, in any situation, when you are negotiating a contract, you want the parties to examine the totality of the circumstances. You have to remember that Manny Ramirez played six years in Cleveland without incident, very happy. [He] took a club that had not been to the World Series in 40 years and they went there twice. He goes to Boston, he lives there [and] he found out after living there for a period of time that he didn’t enjoy living in Boston, that he and his family were not comfortable in the city. [He] liked his teammates, liked the organization and Manny, far before I represented him, he went to the ownership and explained that, ‘no disrespect to you and what we are trying to accomplish here, I just don’t like living in the city of Boston. I want you to know that and I’d like to go somewhere else.’ Now, in that timeframe, mind you, the Boston Red Sox were purchased for around $700 million, I think, in 2002. In that period of time while Manny was there they won two World Championships which, I think we all agree, is an historic accomplishment. They’ve become, if not the best, one of best franchises in baseball and the value of that franchise has probably tripled. The value of the network (NESN) has increased dramatically. A lot of people there have had a lot of success both economically and in the sense of performance of the franchise while Manny was there. Throughout this process Manny had explained to them that he wanted to live in another environment, that he wanted to go somewhere else. When you talk about his teammates, I remind that everyone needs to talk about what ownership and what everyone said about Manny Ramirez at the end of the 2007 season. I also remind that they can go and look, that Manny had an All-Star season in 2008. When they talk about Manny Ramirez not performing to the level he should I remind you that in July he hit .347 for his club. And so when you talk about what the players’ sentiment was and, again, I represent a number of the Boston Red Sox who are in that clubhouse every day, I think their feeling was that Manny had reached the point where it was best for Manny and the organization to come to an agreement to have him play elsewhere because he had requested this transfer for a number of years. And with respect to the organization and everyone involved they came to an agreement to move on. And then we also have to look at Manny and his character and what he did in the locker room in Los Angeles that was chronicled to be very separated. He came there, he put a club together. He was enthusiastic. He demonstrated leadership and commitment. No one questions the fact that every morning this player gets up at 10 o’clock and goes to the gym. He works with young players. He was great with the fans and we all know about his extraordinary talent and performance. When you look at the totality of the circumstances I think every owner, every GM can evaluate that and the one thing he’s going to want to be clear of is the fact that Manny Ramirez is a lot older than when he signed in Boston. He’s more familiar with the issues about going to a city or to a place that he’s not going to be comfortable with. I think he’s going to be very cautious. Certainly the direction he’s given me about what city he would play in, and why, he’s going to really know a lot about that city and know what his parameters are for choice before he makes that decision.”

Dodgers make offer to Manny, largest in history of franchise

Guessing it’s two years at around $50 million or three years at around $75 million, but again, that’s just a GUESS, based on Colletti’s preference for short-term deals and what he said on the record to reporters at the GM meetings in Dana Point today (in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not actually there). What he said was that this is the most lucrative contract ever offered in the history of the Dodgers franchise (in terms of average annual value) and that it potentially would make Ramirez the second-highest paid player (presumably based on average annual value) in baseball behind A-Rod. Ned also said the AAV of the offer is somewhere between the $20 million Manny would have made next year if his option had been exercised by the Red Sox and the AAV of A-Rod’s deal, which if you do the math is $27.5 million. Boras is said to be holding out for a deal that would lock up Manny through his 42nd birthday, which is May 30, 2014. A three-year deal with the Dodgers would lock him up only through his 39th birthday in 2011. That’s a pretty big gap for now.

Penny’s option declined, Maddux wins 18th Gold Glove

And there is a good chance neither one of these guys will be with the Dodgers next season. The Penny news isn’t much of a surprise given that he was injured most of the season and was due to receive $9.25 million next year (buyout is $2 million). Haven’t spoken with Colletti yet, so not sure of the Dodgers’ willingness to re-sign him as a free agent. But I know Brad didn’t exactly endear himself to anyone by not sticking around for the playoffs. He was on the DL and had been granted permission to leave, but from what I understand, the fact he asked for such permission is what didn’t sit well. … And Greg Maddux, who is also a free agent and might retire, won his 18th Gold Glove today, the most all-time by any player at any position. He actually set that record by winning it LAST year with San Diego. Prior to that, he had been tied with 3B Brooks Robinson and pitcher Jim Kaat for the most with 16. No other Dodgers player was named to the N.L. Gold Glove team.

Gary Bennett wastes no time

He filed for free agency within hours of official notification that the Dodgers weren’t picking up his option. This doesn’t affect the 40-man roster, as Bennett was on the 60-day DL. Eleven Dodgers players have now filed, with Jeff Kent yet to do so. If the Dodgers reject Pablo Ozuna’s option ($1.2M, $200k buyout), he’ll file too. The club is almost certain to reject Brad Penny’s option ($9.25M/$2M), a decision I BELIEVE has to be made my tomorrow, at which point he’ll file, too. Penny is also on the 60-day DL.

You will undoubtedly be shocked by this bit of news …

… but the Dodgers have decided NOT to pick up the 2009 contract option on backup catcher Gary Bennett, who wasn’t heard from at all after he went onto the DL on May 20 with plantar fasciitis at a time when he also admitted to what anyone watching already knew, that he had the yips. He appeared in just 10 games, starting six, all while earning $825,000. His option was for $900,000, and the buyout is $50,000. Not sure what the Dodgers are going to do about a backup catcher, a position it appears they will make more use of next year. But if they don’t find anybody that blows them away, they could do well enough simply by keeping Danny Ardoin, whom they still control because he has less than three years of service time. Good guy in the clubhouse who accepts his role in a professional manner.

Furcal makes it double digits

rarRafael Furcal filed for free agency today, giving the Dodgers an even 10 free agents from this year’s club and reducing the 40-man roster to 30, not counting 60-day DL guys. Because he missed 125 games this year with his back injury, Furcal might find himself in a strange situation as far as offers from other clubs. Could turn into something similar to what Ivan Rodriguez dealt with in 2003, when he signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Florida, helped the Marlins win that year’s Wotld Series, proved that he could stay healthy and be productive, then got a long-term deal with Detroit the following winter. That would work out perfectly for the Dodgers, who are targeting 2010 as the year when Ivan De Jesus takes over as their everyday SS.

Chan Ho Park joins the party

Forgot to mention him when listing all the eligibles yesterday, but he became the NINTH Dodgers player to file for free agency today. He revived his failing career this year by becoming a key presence out of the Dodgers’ bullpen. But he also is now basically a middle reliever (with the ability to go long), so he probably won’t command a big contract on the open market. He could end up back with the Dodgers.