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Know Your Foe: Manny Gets Locker Yet No Contract, Arbitration Duels in the West

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Manny Mania

Manny Ramirez likes to grill.

Manny Ramirez prays.

Manny Ramirez gets bored. Wait what? Oh sorry. You don't want Brangelina quality reporting? Oh good...that makes research more interesting for me. With mlbtraderumors having a daily Manny update, it seemed like people couldn't get enough of the guy...onward with more important issues...

Thursday was a big day for the NL West future, even if a first glance doesn't suggest it.

The Washington Nationals addressed their desire to add a power-hitter to their roster by inking Adam Dunn Thursday. Earlier that day, another outfielder, Bobby Abreu, signed in Anaheim.

In one day, two potential suitors for Ramirez left the market, and two potential replacements for Ramirez in the Dodger outfield went elsewhere. The LF options for Los Angeles are shrinking - Ned Colletti may have to give in and give Ramirez a three year deal or risk starting Juan Pierre in LF full time. The Dodgers have shown no interest in Garrett Anderson or Ken Griffey Jr. The Yankees still can sign Ramirez, but New York is content with their already full shopping cart of free agents.

This all but ensures the dreadlocked drama jackhammer will remain in the NL West. San Francisco is still a possibility, but it's looking less and less likely that Ramirez will end up by the the bay.

Manny Ramirez

#99 / Left Field / Los Angeles Dodgers





May 30, 1972

While it hasn't happened yet, there is more writing on the wall that Manny Ramirez will sign in Los Angeles than there is graffiti in Dodger Town. After all, Manny already has a locker reserved for him in Glendale next to Rafael Furcal.

It appears Ned Colletti's initially dubbed lowball offer was indeed a perfect read on the market. The only question now is how many years Scott Boras can squeeze out of owner Frank McCourt.

Despite the fact that the Dodgers' first Spring Training game is Wednesday, that number is still very unknown. Jon Heyman at Sports Illustrated posed two very different scenarios Thursday one paragraph apart:

Some close to Dodgers owner Frank McCourt say he isn't completely opposed to doing nothing and instead waiting for the trade deadline, apparently in hopes of a second straight July miracle....

...However, most in the know seem to still believe McCourt will bend on Manny and go to three years.

Verdict: The circus continues. Each new report adds more information, limits the possibilities, yet clouds the picture even more. So what does it all mean? Bank on the Maddening Ram facing Jake Peavy and wearing Dodger blue on Opening Day.


News: 1B/OF Conor Jackson appears to be headed to arbitration Wednesday. Jackson is looking for a raise from $420k to $3.65million. Arizona's offer stands at $2.45 million.

Conor Jackson

#34 / First Base / Arizona Diamondbacks





May 07, 1982

If RHP Jon Garland is traded this season and acquires Type A free agent status, his new team cannot offer him arbitration.

AZSnakePit interviewed GM Josh Byrnes. Can we get Dan O'Dowd?

Rumors: GM Josh Byrnes is reportedly trying to bring RHP Juan Cruz back into the fold after he went untaken in the free agent market, in part due to his Type-A status. Cruz isn't the only free agent hindered by his status. Therefore, the possibility of sign-and-trade deals are surfacing, allowing a team to acquire a Type A free agent while giving up a player instead of a draft pick.

Verdict: The Diamondbacks have a very good record in arbitration, and the disparity between their figure and Jackson's is the sixth largest this offseason. Even if Jackson loses, he willl still gain a hefty raise despite managing only one home run more than Clint Barmes while playing a premium power position. Arbitors honor the long-ball, so I expect them to side with Arizona.

Los Angeles

News: OF Andre Ethier will be headed to arbitration tomorrow (Tuesday). The Dodgers have submitted $2.65 million while Ethier has asked for $3.75million. The outcome of the hearing may impact the result of Milwaukee OF Corey Hart's hearing Wednesday, as Ethier and Hart are similar cases.

LHP Joe Beimel, who was recently voted as the best left-handed setup man in Dodgers history by TrueBlueLA, is being pursued by his former team. Former Rockie LHP Dennys Reyes is reportedly getting a look as well.

OF Juan Pierre wants to start. With Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and potentially Manny Ramirez set to defend the green at Chavez Ravine, there isn't a spot to be had for Pierre. Despite ridding themselves of Andruw Jones' contract, Los Angeles will still have a ~$10mil/year bench outfielder, unless they can find a trade partner willing to take his bad contract

Transactions: Signed RHP Jeff Weaver to a minor league contract last Monday. Weaver will compete for a bullpen spot, though he could also get spot starts, thereby replacing Chan Ho Park's role with the 2008 Dodgers.

Rumors: Neither the Washington Nationals nor the St. Louis Cardinals will pursue 2B Orlando Hudson.

Orlando Hudson

#1 / Second Base / Arizona Diamondbacks





Dec 12, 1977

The Dodgers aren't thrilled about Blake DeWitt defensively as a second baseman, and his offense isn't good enough to override that, a la Jeff Kent, so the Dodgers might entertain the thought of giving Hudson a look. TrueBlueLA was skeptical at first but is more open to the idea now.

Verdict: Unless Colletti pulls off a sign-and-trade deal with a divisional foe, Hudson doesn't make much sense in Los Angeles. The Dodgers would forfeit their 17th overall pick for a guy that has been declining and getting injured more often. It would also block Blake DeWitt into a Jeff Baker scenario. Overall, it would probably benefit the Rockies if the Dodgers signed Hudson....It would hurt to see O'Dowd pass on Joe Beimel only to see him return to a divisional enemy. We don't need any more excuses for Hurdle to remove Ian Stewart late in a game.

San Diego

News: GM Kevin Towers is finished shopping to bear arms. San Diego will break camp with Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Cha Seung Baek as the only sure spots in the rotation. The remaining 40% will be made up of Mark Prior, Wade LeBlanc, Chad Reineke, Kevin Correia, or Josh Geer. Their last remaining legitimate free agent target signed in New York Saturday.

SS Bobby Crosby is not drawing interest from the Padres.

Transactions: Traded RHP Matt Bush to Toronto for a PTBNL Tuesday, five days after designating him for assigment.

Mark Prior

#22 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres





Sep 07, 1980

Injuries: Oft injured RHP Mark Prior is still trying to get back to the big leagues to re-establish himself as a force on the mound. The right hander has won only one game since 2005 and cites a recent Super Bowl participant as his inspiration. Prior claims his shoulder is "95% normal and works properly."

Verdict: As cliched as it is, Major League Baseball is better for having Mark Prior in it. No level of surprise dominance from Prior could elevate San Diego to be a contender, so there's no reason to wish ill will upon Prior's recovery. Not that he would be the first by any means, but it would be sad to see MLB lose such a power arm at just 28...San Diego is certainly committed to rebuilding. For the first time, the Rockies will enter the season with a better starting rotation than the Padres.

San Francisco

News: RHP Tim Lincecum will apparently shun the trend followed by Ubaldo Jimenez, Manny Corpas, Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Cain and Noah Lowry of signing a multi-year deal after a first complete successful season.

Tim Lincecum

#55 / Pitcher / San Francisco Giants





Jun 15, 1984

Rumors: 3B Joe Crede appears to be leaning towards the Twins over the Giants.

The Giants have pretty much decided that their rotation will include Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Randy Johnson, Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito. That means Noah Lowry has some work to do to get back into the rotation. Lowry's quest to regaining the rotation spot he firmly held before an injury last spring has already hit a speed bump. Lowry has experienced tightness in his throwing shoulder and will be shut down for a couple days.

Transactions: Signed RHP Ramon Ortiz. Ortiz is a prime candidate for Rockies trivia, as he was the winning pitcher in the epic Game 163 in 2007. His brief stint with the Rockies came after a late season trade for IF Matt Macri.

Verdict: San Francicso has made several plus moves in free agency so far this season. The Giants have the rotation to compete, but their offense is still young and therefore not dependable. Shoring up their offense with Manny Ramirez and Joe Crede would announce their seriousness of challenging for the NL West title, which Los Angeles won with just 84 wins in 2008. Apparently Brian Sabean is content to let the team grow in 2009 and perhaps add a bat at the trading deadline or next offseason. There is one possibility...