You can probably trace it back to Boras.
Recently, Manny Ramirez switched agents to Scott Boras. The math was simple - if the Red Sox (or any team) picked up Manny's option at $20M for next year, Boras got nada. If Manny got a new deal, Boras would get his percentage.
Do the math.
And then read Peter Gammons' pieces over at ESPN discussing how Manny would only accept a trade to a team that wouldn't pick up his options, or how Boras told Theo Epstein that if the Red Sox agreed not to pick up the option Manny would behave for the rest of the year, or how Manny sat out games with a knee that apparently hurt so badly that he couldn't remember which knee it was when the Sox told him to take an MRI.
Do the math.
Gammons claims Manny was talking openly about his upcoming 4 year, $100M payday. While the possibility remains that Boras contacted a team and worked out an under-the-table deal (see: Drew, J.D.), it's more likely that Manny was dreaming, as I can't see any team shelling out $25M/year for a declining bat with no glove, no wheels, and no inclination to show up. Even the Los Angeles fan base will figure out that Manny being Manny isn't the same as Manny being a Dodger soon enough.
As fans, we often ask too much from our athletes when they are on the field; we also simultaneously ask too little of them as human beings. But the one thing that we are justified in asking for is effort. Take the money, play the game, and we'll gladly pay your salaries.
Manny Ramirez broke that compact, and Manny almost certainly doesn't care. But for whatever infinitesmal bit it's worth, I care. So the hell with you, Manny Ramirez. Enjoy Los Angeles. Thanks for 2004. But I won't be shelling out to see you play, the only small power of protest left to me.
But what the hell, I'll try it anyway. After all, it seemed to work for you.