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Tag:Los Angeles Dodgers
Posted on: August 26, 2010 7:00 pm
 

Manny's LA days continue to appear numbered

Manny Ramirez continues as a hot topic on the waiver wire, but if he's going to land in Chicago with the White Sox, there's still plenty of heavy lifting to be done.

The Dodgers have not spoken with the White Sox since July 31, according to a highly placed industry source, back when Chicago general manager Kenny Williams checked into the possibility of acquiring the one-time (and still?) slugger in the last couple of hours before the non-waivers trading deadline. The Sox do, however, continue to express interest in Ramirez and are expected to make a waiver claim.

What this means, simply, is that the waivers process is running its course. Ramirez clears on Friday, through which point clubs are free to claim him (NL clubs first, then AL). At that point, the Dodgers can either allow the claiming club to have him, or they can pull him back. If they pull him back, they would have until Tuesday afternoon to work out a deal with whichever club claims him, or they could keep him (unlikely, if he's claimed).

Ramirez is owed roughly $4.3 million for the rest of the season. If a team claims him and the Dodgers simply let him walk, the claiming team would be on the hook for all of that money. What's more likely, if a team claims him, is that the Dodgers would attempt to work out a deal in which they receive prospects in return for Ramirez and they would assume some of his remaining salary. Because of deferrels in his contract, Ramirez would be owed roughly $1.3 million this year and about $3.3 million in deferred salary.

He did not play in the Dodgers' 7-1 win over the Brewers on Thursday. The two doubles he collected in the Dodgers' 5-4 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday were his first hits since June 28.

Ramirez is hitting .313 with eight homers and 40 RBI in only 64 games this season. He's spent three different stints on the disabled list this season, twice for a strained right calf. He has not homered since June 19 -- a span of 48 at-bats.

While it is clear that Ramirez is a short-timer in Los Angeles -- his contract expires at the end of this season -- what's not clear is his exact expiration date.

He has full no-trade powers and could nix any deal. It is believed that he would accept a trade to the White Sox -- or an American League team -- because given his leg injuries, he's best suited now to be a DH.

 

Posted on: August 24, 2010 11:14 pm
 

Olde English D suits Damon well

SAN FRANCISCO -- Just when you think they're all mercenaries who only care about the next whopping contract, along comes Johnny Damon thumbing his nose at Boston.

We already knew Damon to be an exciting, if aging, ballplayer. We already knew him to be one of the game's extraordinarily nice guys.

Now we know he's not a phony.

Nothing against the Red Sox, who are doing a marvelous job of hanging in there despite losing players to the disabled list so frequently this summer that Terry Francona has been reduced to playing guys who are unrecognizable even to their own mothers.

But Damon has been there, done that, and it did not end pleasantly.

Looking for work this spring, he and his agent, Scott Boras, suddenly did more for Detroit's image than the Renaissance Center ever did. Damon professed his love for the Red Wings and all things Detroit. Boras rhapsodized about how much Damon always has loved Detroit.

It would have been sickening -- if it weren't true.

How do I know? Well, I couldn't resist. I sat down with Damon in Lakeland, Fla., this spring and administered a quiz covering all things Detroit and Michigan. Not only did he good-naturedly play along, he did quite well.

Anyway, seven months later, Damon told the Tigers he wouldn't accept a deal to Boston because Detroit is where he wants to be. He individually talked to all of his teammates first to make sure they still wanted him around. He said he hopes to play again in Detroit in 2011, and he said he knows that if manager Jim Leyland reduces his playing time down the stretch, it could cost him money on the free agent market this winter.

Didn't matter. Damon didn't want to change his stripes. (And his chances of stepping into a pennant race in Boston wasn't exactly guaranteed, either).

Next time you become disenchanted with the modern athlete for whatever reason, remember Damon. Maybe you hated him when he was with Boston, maybe you hated him when he was with the Yankees. Perhaps you never liked him with long hair, or maybe you were angry when he chopped his locks.

Whatever. Bottom line is, Damon showed this week he is a man of principle.

Likes: Ah, San Francisco. Gorgeous summer day today. Hot. It actually reached 100. And that brought the crazies out (even more than usual). Walking between the Rasputin music store and Border's books, I passed a raggedy-looking man on the street grinning and holding up a homemade sign fashioned from a cardboard box reading, "Ass watching is a sport." When I walked back 30 minutes later, he was still at his post proudly displaying his sign. Meantime, John Fay, Reds beat man for the Cincinnati Enquirer, saw two older men walking down the street completely naked protesting, as Fay said, something. ... If the White Sox do get Manny Ramirez on waivers, he and Ozzie Guillen will be quite a combo. And Guillen always thought Frank Thomas was a handful. ... Great run along the Embarcadero on Tuesday morning down to AT&T Park. Love the atmosphere around empty ballparks early in the day before they come to life at night.

Dislikes: Still haven't caught up to the final three Friday Night Lights episodes from this summer. Looking forward to carving out some time to see them. ... School starting again. I know lots of parents eagerly anticipate the kids going back. Not me. I like having mine around.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"When that last guitar's been packed away
"You know that I still want to play
"So just make sure you got it all set to go
"Before you come for my piano
"But the band's on the bus
"And they're waiting to go
"We've got to drive all night and do a show in Chicago
"or Detroit, I don't know
"We do so many shows in a row
"And these towns all look the same
"We just pass the time in our hotel rooms
"And wander 'round backstage
"Till those lights come up and we hear that crowd
"And we remember why we came"

-- Jackson Brown, The Load Out

Posted on: July 31, 2010 7:49 pm
 

Is Manny coming to end of the line in LA?

The Curious Case that is Manny Ramirez took another twist at the trade deadline Saturday when the Dodgers fielded offers for the disabled outfielder.

The door clearly has begun to crack open for his departure.

Question is, when?

After this season, when his two-year, $45 million contract expires?

In August, when he almost certainly will sail through waivers (and when it especially would be incumbent upon the Dodgers to investigate deals for him if they drop out of the pennant race)?

"This club is built with him as our left fielder," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in a conference call shortly after Saturday's 4 p.m. EDT trade deadline passed. "We haven't had him for most of the year.

"That doesn't mean he can't provide us with some help the last couple of months."

Still, the man who stole headlines two Julys ago when the contending Dodgers scooped him up from Boston was back in them for a time in the final, crazy hours as clubs stampeded toward this year's trade deadline.

"We got a call from one team that offered us a very low dollar figure with no players attached to it," Colletti said in recapping the latest chapter in Mannywood. "That's what began it."

Though Colletti would divulge no specifics, industry sources have told CBSSports.com that it was the Chicago White Sox who came calling with ideas of installing Ramirez in the middle of their lineup as they work toward holding off Minnesota in the AL Central.

"Once it was out, a couple of teams called in the last 30, 45 minutes, but it was too cumbersome [to negotiate with the deadline closing in]" Colletti continued.

The GM would not confirm how many clubs phoned the Dodgers regarding Ramirez, only saying, tongue-in-cheek, that it was "a few more than one and less than 30."

Ramirez has full no-trade powers, but given his trouble with his legs this season, it is believed he would accept a deal to an AL club that would allow him a soft landing into a DH role.

"The team that had the strongest interest was trying to get another player that we had interest in with another club," Colletti said. "But that went by the wayside.

"We didn't start the rumor and we didn't float his name. The rumor was started by another team, and I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish."

One industry source familiar with the White Sox suggested that it was all tied to Chicago's pursuit of Washington slugger Adam Dunn, that Chicago GM Kenny Williams was trying to bluff the Nationals.

The logic there would be that it was a gamble that the Nationals were more eager to rid themselves of Dunn than they let on, and the Ramirez rumors might pique their attention enough to go back to the White Sox and cut a deal for Dunn.

Whatever, no dice.

In the end, Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo called everyone's bluff and wound up keeping Dunn.

The Dodgers?

Well, first they need to get a healthy Ramirez back into their lineup.

Then, they need to climb back into the NL West race -- they opened Saturday trailing first-place San Diego by seven games, and they were 5 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the wild-card race. Then they lost a crushing 2-1 decision in San Francisco Saturday afternoon.

At some point then -- or during the process -- they'll assess.

One source close to the Ramirez talks Saturday said that "it has to be a good deal" for the Dodgers to trade Manny. And clearly, the Dodgers didn't think they were approached with one.

But with about $7 million remaining of his $20 million 2010 salary, Ramirez surely will pass through waivers, which will give the Dodgers freedom to trade him in August if they're approached with the right deal.

One very good question for now, though, is when the Dodgers might see him again.

Ramirez, 38, currently is on the disabled list for a third time this season, this time with a strained calf. He did not even travel with the Dodgers on their current trip to San Diego and San Francisco, opting to rehab at the club's Arizona spring training facility, and sources say the club has grown increasingly disenchanted with him this season as he has separated himself from the rest of the clubhouse.

The leg problems make him even more of a liability in the outfield, and his power has diminished significantly since last season's 50-game suspension for failing a test pertaining to baseball's performance-enhancement drug policy. In just 61 games this season (the Dodgers now have played 104), Ramirez has just eight homers and a .317 batting average.

When will Manny return?

"That's tough to say," Colletti said. "A week. Ten days, perhaps."

Colletti did very right by the Dodgers this week in adding speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik (from Kansas City), versatile infielder Ryan Theriot (Cubs), veteran starting pitcher Ted Lilly (Cubs) and closer/set-up man Octavio Dotel (Pirates). He's always been at his strongest during the July and August trading periods.

The roster is fortified and manager Joe Torre has even more options.

But as for Ramirez, whose production is diminishing and whose honeymoon in Hollywood is finished ... what's left?

Does the GM believe Manny will finish the season a Dodger?

"I sure hope so," Colletti said, pausing and choosing his words carefully. "I think he will be.

"Yeah, I guess I believe it. How's that?"

Posted on: July 31, 2010 2:08 pm
 

Dodgers fielding Manny offers, deal not close

Manny Ramirez stole the headlines two Julys ago when the contending Dodgers struck at the last minute to acquire him from Boston.

Could he do it again this July?

The Dodgers are fielding phone calls on him in these last three hours leading up today's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline, but a deal right now appears unlikely.

For one thing, sources familiar with the Dodgers' thinking insist that "it has to be a good deal" for Los Angeles to deal the currently disabled Manny and so far, rivals are offering too few cents on the dollar in value.

For another, with Ramirez owed a pro-rated share of his $20 million salary for the rest of this year, he should easily sail through waivers, which should discourage rivals from paying the Dodgers a competitive return for him now.

The White Sox were among a handful of clubs who have contacted the Dodgers over the past 24 hours about Ramirez's availability. Tampa Bay is reportedly another.

Ramirez currently is on the disabled list for a third time this season, this time with a strained calf. He did not even travel with the Dodgers on their current trip to San Diego and San Francisco, opting to rehab at the club's Arizona spring training facility, and the club has grown increasingly disenchanted with him this season.

Posted on: July 30, 2010 4:42 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 9:07 pm
 

Pirates fielding inquiries on Paul Maholm

One day after adding veteran infielder Miguel Tejada, the first-place Padres are on a mission to add a starting pitcher and they're talking with the Pirates about acquiring left-hander Paul Maholm, a source with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com.

A handful of other clubs in search of pitching, including the Dodgers and Mets, are believed to be engaging the Pirates in talks as well. No deal appears close -- early Thursday evening, one source with knowledge of the talks described the Pirates-Padres conversations as "mild", while a second source described them as "less than mild."

The Padres lead the majors in pitching and are casting a wide net for another starter because they are concerned about running short during the stretch run. Youngsters Mat Latos and Wade LeBlanc each will be closing in on his career-high in professional innings pitched by September, and the Padres are watching that closely.

In a threadbare starting pitching market, Maholm is 6-9 with a 4.52 ERA in 21 starts for the Pirates this season, with 62 strikeouts and 45 walks in 125 1/3 innings.

One attractive facet of acquiring Maholm: He's signed through 2011, with a club option for 2012. He's due the pro-rated portion of his $4.5 million salary the rest of this summer and $5.75 million in 2011. The club option for 2012 is $9.75 million, or a $750,000 buyout.

As for the Pirates, one source with knowledge of their thinking says they are "not necessarily trading players to get young prospect back." In other words, the source said, their mission isn't to simply dump salary for three or four prospects. The Bucs are said to be looking for a major-league ready player in return -- either a player currently in the majors, or a high-level prospect. 

Posted on: July 30, 2010 1:57 pm
 

Dodgers, Cubs talk Lilly-Theriot -- or just Lilly

Seven games behind San Diego in the NL West and at a clear crossroads in their season, the Dodgers continue to pound the phones searching for starting pitching and are looking at all options.

The latest on Friday involved discussions with the Cubs on a couple of different fronts: One involving a package that would send left-hander Ted Lilly and infielder Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers, the other a deal that would only involve Lilly, according to CBSSports.com sources.

The Dodgers are not overly enamored with Lilly in that, at 34, he is not the same pitcher he was a few years ago. But, the trade market is what it is and, with Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee and Dan Haren off the board, contenders looking for starting pitching are left to sort through the Lillys, Jake Westbrooks and Jeremy Guthries.

Any deal sending Lilly, or Lilly and Theriot, to the Dodgers would have to include the Cubs shipping cash as well. One other factor that makes Lilly less attractive is that he's owed about $4 million for the rest of the summer. And given the Dodgers' precarious financial situation -- the divorce trial between owners Frank and Jamie McCourt is expected to kick off in August -- they cannot take on much salary.

A Lilly-Theriot package certainly would be more attractive to the Dodgers at this point in that Theriot, who has a .285 batting average and .321 on-base percentage, would give them more options. Bench depth has become an issue for the Dodgers, who acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik on Wednesday to help get them through Manny Ramirez's third disabled list stint of the season.

The Dodgers -- or, more likely if a deal is consummated, the Cubs -- would owe Theriot a pro-rated portion of his $2.6 million 2010 salary.

While Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti -- among the more creative GMs -- is determined to find a way to add a starting pitcher, he did note earlier this week that he would not jump at something undesirable in July because there are always ways to add help in August as well.

"We'd like to get it done by Aug. 1," he said Wednesday. "But sometimes other people come available."

Remember, the Dodgers last August alone acquired starting pitchers Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland, pinch-hitter Jim Thome and infielder Ronne Belliard. And two years ago, they added starting pitcher Greg Maddux in August.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 7:01 pm
 

Toronto's Downs hot property & other trade notes

Toronto was the focal point of last year's trade deadline, then-Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi was the point man and ace Roy Halladay was the bait.

A year later, Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt having been traded and Saturday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline bearing down?

Toronto again is a focal point, first-year GM Alex Anthopoulos is the point man and reliever Scott Downs is getting as much action as anybody on the market.

Now Downs might not pack as much marquee punch as Halladay, but this year's trade market isn't exactly heavyweight, either.

And given the overwhelming bullpen needs of the majority of contenders this summer. ...

"He might be the best guy out there," the general manager of one club with interest in Downs says. "He's owed just a little more than $1 million, he's left-handed, he can close, he can set up. ..."

Among other clubs, the Blue Jays have fielded inquiries about Downs from the Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Mets, Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, Reds and Phillies over the past several days.

Clubs also are watching Jays relievers Kevin Gregg and Jason Frasor.

-- The Nationals are holding out hope of signing slugger Adam Dunn to a contract extension between now and Saturday's trade deadline, which is why talks remain slow between them and other clubs like the White Sox, Yankees and Giants. If contract talks don't progress, trade talks are expected to.

-- The Dodgers, who obtained outfielder Scott Podsednik from Kansas City on Wednesday, still want to acquire a starting pitcher and worked hard to try and pry Roy Oswalt from Houston until the Phillies finally finished the deal. The Dodgers were given indications that Oswalt would have waived his no-trade clause to go there.

-- The Dodgers have scouted the Cubs' Ted Lilly but are lukewarm on him, particularly given that they'd get only about 10 starts for the roughly $4 million he's still owed. They also have had a scout sitting on Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm, who was blasted by the Rockies in Coors Field on Thursday (five earned runs, seven hits, 4 2/3 innings). The Pirates have not indicated yet whether they intend to move Maholm.

-- GM Ned Colletti thinks the chances of the Dodgers acquiring pitching help might be better in August given the slim pickings right now. Plus, Dodgers under Colletti have made several of their key moves in August. Last year, they added pitchers Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland, infielder Ronnie Belliard and pinch-hitter Jim Thome in August. Two years ago, they added Greg Maddux in August.

-- The Twins and Mets also continue to engage the Cubs regarding Lilly.

-- The sinking Rockies want to move starter Aaron Cook, according to one source, but there has not been much interest.

-- Philadelphia scouted Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa as a fallback in case Roy Oswalt did not work out.

-- The Angels, who are just about DOA right now, had been working toward a deal for the Cubs' Derrek Lee for several weeks before Lee nixed it. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter had dinner with Lee in Chicago on June 18 after that afternoon's game that doubled as a recruiting session. Lee must be one of the few people in baseball who can't be charmed by Hunter.

-- Multiple clubs have asked Milwaukee about veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds, but Edmonds has told the Brewers he does not want to go anywhere. He particularly would make sense for San Francisco, which is looking for an outfielder who can improve the offense.

-- This shoulder stiffness that sent Washington's Stephen Strasburg to the disabled list on Thursday is something completely new. His college coach, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, said at Petco Park on Wednesday night that Strasburg never had a shoulder or arm problem in three seasons at San Diego State. Not even something minor. "None. Zero. Nothing," Gwynn said.

Posted on: July 28, 2010 10:01 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 11:10 pm
 

Dodgers acquire Podsednik, eye pitching help

The Dodgers made a trade Wednesday, but it wasn't one to strengthen their rotation and solve their dilemma of who's going to start Saturday against San Francisco.

Instead, they struck for an outfielder, acquiring veteran Scott Podsednik from Kansas City for a couple of minor-league prospects while continuing their search for a starting pitcher.

As for whether the Dodgers will be able to add a starter by Saturday's trade deadline -- they've inquired about Houston's Roy Oswalt and the Cubs' Ted Lilly, among others -- general manager Ned Colletti said it's still too early to know.

"Tough to tell," Colletti said early Wednesday evening. "You take it as it comes. This deal [Podsednik] came about. You don't have to put it in order. You get them done when you can."

Looking to beef up their versatility and add depth with Manny Ramirez disabled with a strained calf, the Dodgers sent two minor leaguers -- Triple-A catcher Lucas May and Double-A right-hander Elisaul Pimentel -- to the Royals for Podsedik. No money exchanged hands -- the Dodgers will pay the roughly $600,000 owed to Podsednik for the remainder of the year. His contract includes a $2 million club option for 2011 or a $100,000 buyout.

It's not a blockbuster deal, but with Ramirez on the DL for a third time this season and with the Dodgers running third in the NL West, the acquisition of Podsednik at least gives manager Joe Torre another option. Especially with another outfielder, Reed Johnson, also on the disabled list with a back injury and not expected to return for at least three or four more weeks.

"He brings a lot of different things to the club," Colletti said. "He's a good hitter -- his average is over .300 -- he drives in a lot of runs for hitting in a high spot in the order, he has speed, he can add a lot of different dimensions to the club.

"That he played on a World Series winner in Chicago a few years ago is also a plus."

In 94 games for Kansas City this season, Podsednik hit .310 and stole 30 bases. He also posted a .352 on-base percentage.

The Dodgers hope Podsednik arrives in San Diego in time for Thursday's 3:35 p.m. PDT start. He'll bring a 15-game hitting streak with him.

Meantime, the Dodgers right now are going with "to be determined" as the starter opposite San Francisco's Barry Zito on Saturday. Likely, it will be right-hander John Ely, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on July.

Unless, of course, Colletti pulls a rabbit out of his cap for the Dodgers on the trade market.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com