Dodgers make new offer to Ramirez
GM misses LA's first game in Arizona to meet with agent Boras
MESA, Ariz. -- Dodgers chairman Frank McCourt and general manager Ned Colletti presented a new offer to Manny Ramirez Wednesday, according to baseball sources.
The club would only confirm that McCourt, Colletti, Scott Boras and his associate, Mike Fiore, met at Dodger Stadium.
MLB.com has learned that in the 2 1/2-hour meeting, the Dodgers officials offered Ramirez a variation of their original two-year deal, guaranteeing $45 million for two years ($25 million the first year and $20 million the second).
Boras told the Los Angeles Times that he's "in the middle of negotiations" and would not comment further.
However, the third-year option of $15 million from the first proposal was dropped and, at Boras' request, the second year is a player option so Ramirez could become a free agent again after the 2009 season.
Colletti skipped the Dodgers' first exhibition game of their first full Arizona Spring Training on Wednesday to fly back to California and attend the meeting. On Saturday, Colletti said his communications with Boras had increased "in frequency and duration," which coincided with indications that McCourt's involvement in the talks had escalated.
Ramirez, 37 in May, originally sought a contract length of six years at a salary in the Alex Rodriguez neighborhood ($27.5 million a year). The Dodgers initially offered two years at $45 million plus a $15 million third-year option. They also offered salary arbitration, then made a one-year offer of $25 million.
There have been no other clubs that have confirmed making an offer to Ramirez, while the Giants have acknowledged lukewarm interest if the Dodgers are out. It has been speculated that Ramirez has softened his demands to three years plus a vesting option, while the Dodgers have been rigid about guaranteeing no more than two years.
Before the Dodgers' game with the Cubs, there were questions about Ramirez for manager Joe Torre to answer, like when he was asked if Ramirez's absence was a distraction as exhibition games began.
"It's not a distraction whatsoever," said Torre. "Spring Training is for individuals to get in shape. It's going to be long and boring for these guys. From my experience with him, I know he's not sitting there doing nothing. I don't see it's an issue. I'm comfortable he'll have enough time to be ready."
Torre recalled that Dick Allen was a frequent Spring Training holdout, and he did fine when the bell rang.
"I guarantee Manny is doing more than Dick did," he said. "In the early '70s, we didn't do things with weights. That was taboo. They do more conditioning now. Jeff Kent hit a home run Opening Day and he didn't play all spring, and I was leaning to starting him on the disabled list, but I left it to him and trusted that."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.