Off Base
Dodgers and Manny Make Nice

January 3, 2009, 2:49 p.m. To be clear, that's a suggestion, not a declaration of news.

So, Dodgers and Manny Ramirez slash Scott Boras, go out and come back in again. Refresh, reboot; whatever you wanna call it.

There's nothing all that complicated here. All that's required is little magnanimity from one side or the other, just a thimble full, and Manny to Los Angeles is a done deal. It looks like we're headed in that direction, but count chickens at your own peril.

Ned Colletti has said on more than one occasion that if a player wants to be a Dodger, and is willing to be "creative" in his approach to a contract, an agreement is that much easier to accomplish. When the GM comes right out and says that the player is the club's "first choice," as he has with Manny, and with Rafael Furcal as a recent example with a successful outcome, there's reason to take Ned at his word.

That said, the Dodgers should exercise some creativity of their own, and put two offers on the table for Manny. Really give him something to ponder, and let him choose.

First, take the original offer of two years at $45 million, tweak it just so to make it more enticing, even in some minor manner, and put it back on the table. Then, and most importantly, introduce the idea of a one-year deal, with a top-shelf salary, and give Manny the chance to play for an even bigger payday after 2009. Say, $23 or $24 or $25 mil. Shoot, maybe even $30 mil.

Manny might be attracted to a deal that makes him the highest paid player in baseball for a season, or in the top two or three anyway. He'll likely be motivated to play his heart out for the Dodgers while auditioning for 2010, and the Dodgers will benefit from a full six months of clutch hitting, instead of just the two he gave them last year. Win-win, don't you think?

Two offers for Manny. My guess is his eyes light up like a batter sitting on a Brad Penny fastball, and the Dodgers have their man one way or another.

If Ramirez doesn't bite, and the club needs to add a third guaranteed year to reel in the player, they ought to just go for it. As long as Manny hits, he'll be tradable to the American League down the line. And with his provocative Boston exit another year or two in the rearview mirror, there will surely be takers. There's just no reason not to get this done now, during the first week of January.

Now, let's address those pesky rumors. First, I've learned enough in the last few years not to worry too much about one particular rumor, and especially when it's only been "reported" in one or two places. Such is the case with the Manny-to-Frisco scenario.

On the other hand, I'm anxious about the Giants just generally, and I can see them screwing the Dodgers on this one, or at least doing their darnedest. More reason for the Dodgers to move with dispatch. There's no need to increase their offer(s) carelessly if they're they only team seriously in the mix (see Darren Dreifort, see Dave Goltz). Just act swiftly.

Maybe Boras floated the San Francisco possibility as a sort of volley to the Dodger supposed interest in Adam Dunn and Bobby Abreu, which makes sense if you think about it. And for the record, while Abreu is a legitimate substitution for Ramirez and a really good a fall-back option, Dunn in Dodger blue is just a tad less ridiculous than is another year of Andruw Jones.

Which brings us to the big fella. I'm no certified public accountant (certified, yes) but I don't get how the Dodgers save $12 million through deferred payments, contract restructuring or whatever. And it's difficult to imagine Andruw taking less money in exchange for a one-way ticket out. And the union said okie dokie? Wow.

But wonders never cease. Maybe this creativity thing is catching, and there's a surprise up Colletti's sleeve. A belated Christmas present perhaps, with Ned arranging for Jones to ply his wares in China Basin, or Petco Park. The closer the better, I say.

And an Executive of the Year Award for Ned if he pulls it off…

Pitching Review: In case you missed it, Penny is with the Boston Red Sox now, whoopee for them, and Claudio Vargas is a Dodger. I remember Vargas pitching with the Expos and being impressed a little, and the Montreal system was a fine breeding ground ten years ago, but that's all I can tell you.

At the moment, L.A. is said to have some degree of interest in Randy Wolf, Jon Garland and Andy Pettitte. Any of the three would be OK, and maybe very OK, and Garland and Pettitte are locks for 33 starts and 200 innings, but I'm going to repeat my call for Braden Looper till it gets some traction.

Looper is the sleeper of the current class of free agent pitchers, and the Dodgers should snap him up before someone else like a division foe does. Trust me on this one…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Stocking Stuffers: With only 356 shopping days till Christmas, you absolutely must check this out. A friend turned me onto, which is essentially EBay for handmade stuff. Of course, the first thing I did when I got there was search "baseball," which for the most part turned up crap.

Except for one man, with the very apt screen name CreativePal. Just the coolest, most original 1960s-inspired items ever. I Dream of Jeannie, Man From Uncle, Batman, Elvis, etc. The guy should make millions.

In particular, for your baseball fan who has everything, he ain't got this: a reproduction of a sales display box of 1961 Topps baseball cards, made into a lamp. Just awesome. Browse the CreativePal shop. You won't be disappointed…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign has reached five years, and we're just not giving up. My resolution is quite simple. We get it done in 2009. Period, exclamation point. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And if you want to help, forward this page the world over…

Remember, glove conquers all….







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