How to make $100,000 without really trying

OK, maybe the heading here is a little misleading. I’m sure Horacio Ramirez was trying to pitch well for the Mariners in 2007.

But still, after a poor season in which he somehow had a winning record — 8-7 — but a 7.16 earned run average, Ramirez lost everything except that buldge in his wallet. Manager John McLaren pulled the left-hander from the starting rotation in September, and there’s every indication it will take a miracle in spring training for Ramirez to get it back.

So where does that leave him? One hundred thousand smackers richer.

Because he was eligible for arbitration, and because Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi would rather be hung by his ear lobes than faced the anything-can-happen event of an arbitrator’s decision, the M’s re-signed Ramirez to a new contract for 2008. He’ll get $2.75 million in 2008, a raise of $100,000 from last year.

Only in baseball.

It stirs the memory of what one of my favorite former Mariners, utility player John Mabry, once told me about pitchers. Not long after his first son was born, I asked Mabry if he wanted the boy to become a big-league baseball player.

Without hesitation, Mabry replied, “I’m going to tie his right hand behind his back and make him a left-handed reliever. Work five minutes a night and make more than a million dollars doing it.”

And, as Horacio Ramirez is proving, the money keeps flowing even after a lousy year.

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