Dodgers Up Offer To Manny, Show Why They Need Him

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti missed the first Dodgers spring training game of the year, and when he gets the report on his pitchers he may be glad he was back in Los Angeles.

Dodger fans may be happy he went to Los Angeles as well — if only because it will bring the never-ending will-he-or-won’t-he Manny Ramirez negotiations to and end. In a meeting that also included Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Manny’s agent Scott Boras, the Dodgers put a new offer out there on the table.

According to the source, the offer is for two years and $45 million, but it is structured differently than the Dodgers' previous offer at those numbers. This deal would pay Ramirez $25 million in the first year, with a player-only option for $20 million for the second season. The previous offer had been structured this way: $15 million for 2009, $22.5 million for 2010, a team option for 2011 for $22.5 million or a $7.5 million buyout. The Dodgers had also previously offered salary arbitration, which was rejected, and most recently a straight one-year, $25 million deal.

The source said Boras specifically requested a player-only option for a second year be worked into the deal. With that option at the numbers the Dodgers are offering, Ramirez, 37, could guarantee himself $45 million for two seasons, or could walk away after one season for $25 million if he feels his market has improved.

The ball is now in Manny’s strike zone. If he decides to lay off this pitch, you can bet it will be a long time before he sees another one to hit from the Dodgers or anyone else. While the Giants and other teams have been rumored, nobody has offered money near what the Dodgers have.

And they may need that big bat, because their potential fifth starting pitchers did not impress in the team’s first spring training game of the year.

Ramon Troncoso made a case for staying in the bullpen when he gave up a grand slam to the Cubs’ Micah Hoffpauir in the fifth inning. Starter Claudio Vargas gave up a hit to the first two batters he faced and a run in the first inning, although he had a solid second.

Eric Milton might have looked the best, and he gave up three hits in 1 2/3 innings, and was pulled for Troncoso.

The Dodgers lost the first game of the spring 5-3 to Chicago, a team they eliminated from the playoffs last year.

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