Return of the Holdout

Here’s what I love about the Manny Ramirez situation: It’s a good old-fashioned holdout, that long-lost tradition which used to spice Spring Trainings.

With the Dodgers his lone overt suitor, this isn’t about maximizing free agency, but about holding out until El Lay sweetens the deal.
This bit of flashback couldn’t be better placed. The Dodgers have a rich lore of holdout episodes, most starring that late agitator of a GM, Buzzie Bavasi.
Two of his favorites:
Don Drysdale-Sandy Koufax, 1966 — The mound’s dynamic duo became a demonic duo for Bavasi, negotiating in tandem for a shared $1 million across three years (or $167,000 annually apiece at a time Willie Mays’ $125,000 topped baseball’s books). Don and Sandy did the Ed Sullivan Show in New York while the Dodgers were training in Vero Beach. The 32-day stalemate ended on March 31, with Koufax ($125,000) and Drysdale ($110,000) each signing one-year deals.
Maury Wills, 1963 — The year after he stole 104 bases and the NL’s MVP Trophy, Wills held out for a $5,000 raise and finally took a meeting with Bavasi. It did not go well, Wills recalls. “I thought I was going to get a big raise, but after 10 minutes in Buzzie’s office, I was still happy I was on the team.”

SPEAKING OF flashbacks: So many free agents signing Minor League contracts that come with Spring Training invitations (a remarkable 38 at last count) means camp competition for jobs —  virtually killed off in the modern era by guaranteed contracts — will again be fierce. …

JAKE PEAVY: Good as gone. When the Padres screened a video retrospective of highlights of their first 40 seasons at their awards banquet last week, two significant contributors to that history were omitted. Trevor Hoffman, who has already left. And, yes, Peavy, who must be packing his long johns for those cold April nights in Wrigley Field. … 

KEN GRIFFEY, JR.: Even though he remains unsigned, he already is one of the best-paid free agents coming out of this winter. Reason: The deferred portion of the contract he signed with the Reds kicks in this year at $5 million, continuing until 2025. … 

GOING DEEP: But you won’t go far. The ultimate condemnation of this home-run era, and the undeserved fascination with the long ball, is that now half of the top dozen on the all-time list have never played on a World Series winner. They include Barry Bonds, Griffey, Sammy Sosa, Harmon Killebrew, Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez. … 

JOE TORRE: Fans don’t share the frothing New York media’s verdict that “The Yankee Years” soiled his Bronx heritage. In an ongoing New York Daily News poll, their sentiment is 69-to-31 for retiring his No. 6 over dismissing him for having tarnished his legacy.

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