NL West Rivals Jockey for Manny Ramirez
It looks like there actually might be a second team interested in Manny Ramirez, but it's not the Nationals. Rather, it's the biggest rival of Ramirez's most recent team, with the Giants actively poking around to investigate a potential contract offer for the perennial All-Star, according to a number of sources.
The Denver Post's Troy E. Renck was the first to run with the rumor, burying it in a notebook about the Angels' signing of Brian Fuentes. By last night, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman was citing the Giants as the Dodgers' biggest threat in the Ramirez chase.
And while the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman is openly skeptical, at least one bay area source is reporting that the Giants have already extended a four-year deal to the slugging outfielder, albeit also playing down the team's chances of signing Manny with a quote from a team official saying, "it's not happening."
So how serious are the Giants? That's hard to tell, though it's hardly debatable that the Dodgers are taking it seriously. Around the time that the Giants were reportedly working their way in on Ramirez, the Dodgers were scrambling to dump Andruw Jones' ridiculous salary to free up room to make a new push for Ramirez, according to the L.A. Times' T.J. Simers.
According to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers are working on a deferred payment scale with Jones' agent Scott Boras, who also happens to represent Ramirez. The idea is that, by adding a slight amount of total value, the Dodgers could push off deffered payments to Jones, making him more attractive to suitors like the Mets, who then could come to some kind of a contingency on payment of deferred contract money based on how many incentives Jones hits as a member of their outfield. In return, the Dodgers would immediately get the financial flexibility they need to make a push in earnest for Ramirez.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Boras and Dodgers GM Ned Colletti traded voicemails about setting up a meeting to discuss parameters of a Ramirez deal, so the Manny situation could finally come to a head soon. Now the big question doesn't appear to be which coast the slugger will hit on, but rather which end of California he'll call home.
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