There's a threat to the solidarity of the anti-Manny faction. Manny at four years? Bah. Flimshaw. Don't make me pull out my list of Hall-of-Famers who disintegrated in their late-30s. That kind of commitment is a gamble the Giants shouldn't take.
Manny at three years? More of the same arguments, though less forceful, I suppose. The team is caught in this weird rebuilding limbo, in which some of the young puzzle pieces are good rightnowwhatarewewaitingfer and the other puzzle pieces haven't played above A-ball. Manny at three years wouldn't really mess with either, though he would give the team less flexibility on the free agent market in the next couple of years.
Let's see...next year is Matt Holliday...uh...Andruw Jones...Dave Roberts.... Yeah. That's not the point, though. In twelve, 24, or 36 months, maybe there's a very good argument that two moderately priced free agents, who don't make a lot of sense to us here in the past, would complete the Giants' roster in the future. And maybe Manny Ramirez's 38-year-old hamstring is vacationing in two different parts of the world. Everyone's an injury risk, but late-30s players are a different breed.
But now the Dodgers offered a one-year contract to Manny, which was rejected. Maybe that's just a bluff, negotiating ploy, or mustachioed mind game by the Dodger front office, but it seems to imply that a two-year deal would be the best on the table. Manny at two years? Well, you see, the defense, and the jerkfaciness, and uh...
I can't do it. The free agent class of 2010 isn't worth holding out for, and the class of 2011 is even worse, assuming that players like Felix Hernandez and Ryan Zimmerman have a good chance to sign extensions before the end of the 2010 season. I don't care about the jerkfaciness. There would be a logjam in the outfield, but in the worst-case scenario -- teams aren't willing to trade for Randy Winn or Aaron Rowand, and the Giants get lowballed on Fred Lewis -- the logjam would only be for a season. That's the harm to the quasi-rebuilding process; the Giants' pre-arbitration outfielders who deserve to start will both sit on the bench. It's a real concern, but it shouldn't prevent the addition of a middle-of-the-order bat.
Manny at two years? A nice balance between risk, reward, public relations, and hosing a division rival. Maybe teams will line up for Randy Winn, provided the Giants take on a little salary. Maybe Nate Schierholtz brings back a good infielder in trade. Maybe nothing of the sort happens, and the Giants are stuck with too many good outfielders. The horror.
The Giants have said all along that they're only interested in Manny if the contract makes sense. Two years makes a lot of sense in a weak division, with a strong staff and a booming farm system that's still years away. I'm not advocating for the signing, exactly, and I'm not going to be one of the noodles who is ready to storm the front office if the Giants don't get Manny, but two years kind of makes sense. And I'd kind of like to see it. Kind of.
Of course, in retrospect, what I'd really like to see is Aaron Rowand on a different team, and Barry Bonds starting his 17th consecutive season in left, but now we're just splitting hairs.