Many of the Dodger players came in to clean out their lockers yesterday, but of course all eyes were on Manny Ramirez. The services for the free agent slugger will command quite a price on the open market, and since Manny is all about seeing who the highest bidder will be, there are valid reasons to believe that yesterday was his last time appearing in the Dodgers' clubhouse.
Reporters tried to get something quotable from Manny on his way out the door, but he wasn't planning on saying anything that could be perceived as him leaning one way or the other as far as whether or not he'll be back next season.
"I'm done talking," Ramirez said as he walked down the hallway. "See you next year." In Los Angeles?
"I don't know," Ramirez said playfully.
After Manny tried to leave through a players' only exit, a group of media members caught up with him at the elevator, but he chose not to respond to the onslaught of questions. His parting words to the assembled: "I'll send you guys a Christmas card."
Manager Joe Torre did speak to the media yesterday, and had this to say when asked about Manny's free agent status:
"I don't think it's a one-way street," Torre said of Ramirez's free-agent status. "I think Manny certainly has to do what's best for him and his family. From the scuttlebutt I get, it's going to take some length (in contract years) in order to sign him, and I think you have to think hard about that.
"He was certainly an 'A' No. 1 citizen here. I enjoyed the hell out of him. For me to say I wouldn't want him back, I'd be crazy."
Obviously, Torre's been at this a long time, and had the perfect answer that would satisfy the organization and his (at this moment) former player. He understands that it's risky to give someone who's in his late 30s a long-term contract, but he also clearly states that he'd love to have Ramirez back next season. While the former is true and certainly something to consider, the latter is a no-brainer if the team can somehow make it work financially.