Negotiation and the Forget-You Response

Manny Ramirez is considered by a consensus of fans and sportswriters one of the best hitters in baseball, and unless he takes steroids or bets on games, he is expected to be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, when he hangs up his cleats.

Having said that, why is it taking so long for this king of the batter’s box to sign a rewarding contract for the 2009 season?

Spring training begins in something like three weeks!

The official word is that the Dodgers offered a two year contract and Manny wants a minimum of four. It also appears no other club is in contention for his services, which are so impactful that having Manny in the lineup can make the difference in reaching the post-season, as the Dodgers did in 2008, or warming the couch in October. I believe both sides are saying, “Forget You!” or what is known as the debilitating F-You response in negotiating. This sort of deadlocking happens all the time when amateurs square off to bargain.

Recently, Bill and his wife went out looking for beach houses to rent. A suitable castle on the sand was listed about $750 over market, according to Bill, who had done an exhaustive competitive analysis, so he offered precisely the listing price, less $750, explaining in detail how he had arrived at the figure.

The owner, who had been spoiled by higher rents when the economy was roaring, refused to lower his price by even one cent. He told the property management company, “Either they’re willing to pay my price, or forget them.”

The owner decided, at least tacitly, that he would prefer to watch the place stay empty, at a cost to him, personally, of thousands per month, than “give it away” for less than what it was worth, at least in his mind.

Playing the negotiation game the Forget-You way creates lose-lose outcomes; nobody wins.

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