"I know I’m not going to be here next year," Ramirez said.
So you don’t think you will re-sign with Dodgers?
"I doubt it, I don’t know," he said. "I'm happy to be here. I'm going to try to enjoy myself."
Asked what made him think he wouldn’t be in Los Angeles in 2011, Ramirez replied, "I don't know. I just know that I'm not going to be here."
What makes him think that? Well, maybe it’s the divorce papers just filed by Jamie McCourt in the ugly separation with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt that said the goal for the next eight seasons is to keep the payroll about the same but double the revenue coming into the team.
Dodger payroll has fluctuated between $127 million and $132 million for the past three years, but this season it's going to drop to about $107 million. The divorce papers say that is going to increase only a little each year, getting it up to $128 million in 2018.
Team revenue, however, is another matter.
The document anticipates a significant rise in club revenue, from $295 million in 2008 to $529 million in 2018, and in the average ticket price, from $29.40 in 2007 to $53.50 in 2018.
Dodgers attorney Marshall Grossman, asked via e-mail what the club would tell fans wondering why the rise in revenue might not be accompanied by a similar rise in the player payroll, responded with an e-mail that noted financial plans are subject to regular revisions.
This is an ugly divorce proceeding, so you can expect those numbers to be a little fudged (same with the future salary numbers above), but the response from the Dodger attorney is not all that reassuring. Not in the least.
Manny Ramirez and players of his ilk do not come cheaply -- the guy is a hitting savant, and he generates excitement (and sells seats). He's not a great fielder by any stretch, may not do all the little things a manager would like, but he can hit the cover off the ball. He lost some luster with Dodger fans when he slumped after returning from a 50-game suspension for use of a banned substance, something that continued over to the playoffs when he hit .263 against the Phillies and had just one home run the entire post season.
Manny said he has his swing fixed, that he is Manny again. If he is, Dodgers fans will embrace him again. If he is, he’s the kind of player that even at $20 million a year, he's the guy you need to have in the lineup to put you over the top and win a World Series.
Apparently, he’s not the kind of guy the Dodgers will be getting in the future.