Free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez remains optimistic that he eventually will receive a four-year contract offer and is not concerned about being unsigned this close to the start of Spring Training.
In his first comments of the year, Ramirez on Saturday told the Los Angeles Times that he still didn't know when or which Major League team he would sign with, but told the newspaper that he wouldn't be disgruntled by the lengthy contract talks.
"That won't happen," Ramirez told the Times. "Understand me, I have goals. I know that if I play six more years, I could get to my 3,000th hit, and, who knows, maybe my 700th home run."
Ramirez has 2,392 hits in his 16-year career, including 527 home runs. He turns 37 in May, which has made the long-term deal his agent, Scott Boras, has been seeking more difficult than expected.
Ramirez already has turned down three offers from the Dodgers, including a one-year, $25 million offer this past week.
But he senses that the end of the process is getting close.
"We're in the seventh inning and I'm waiting for my pitch," he said.
Ramirez wouldn't discuss any contract offers he has received, but told the Times that he receives regular updates from Boras.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.