The Dodgers' bid to re-sign Manny Ramirez -- or part ways with him without causing a fan uproar -- will start in the next four days, as General Manager Ned Colletti is expected to meet with agent Scott Boras for the first time this off-season at the general managers' meetings in Dana Point.
"We owe it to the player and Scott to hear them out and for them to hear us out," Colletti said.
Boras, based in Newport Beach, also represents the Angels' top free-agent filer, Mark Teixeira.
Boras said the 36-year-old Ramirez is worthy of a six-year deal, arguing that his client's value shouldn't be diminished by his age because he hasn't shown any signs of deterioration at the plate. The agent said he expected Teixeira, 28, to get an even longer deal.
The two Southland teams will also be checking in with Paul Kinzer, who represents Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez and Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal. Rodriguez and Furcal are expected to file for free agency in the coming days.
Until Nov. 13, free agents can discuss the financial terms of a new deal only with the teams that had them under contract at the end of the season.
Rule changes and arbitration strategies will be discussed at these meetings, where the foundations for future trades will be laid.
In addition to three superstar free agents on the market -- Ramirez, Teixeira and pitcher CC Sabathia -- the San Diego Padres will be taking offers for pitcher Jake Peavy.
Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, informed the Padres last month that the 2007 Cy Young Award winner, who has a full no-trade clause, would consider the Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta, Houston and St. Louis as potential destinations.
Axelrod said that while the list is "not definitive," the Dodgers remain on it.
"He thinks favorably of the Dodgers," Axelrod said.
But San Diego would charge the Dodgers a premium because the teams are in the same division, and the Padres are asking for young pitching in return. The Dodgers don't intend to part with 20-year-old left-hander Clayton Kershaw.
The Braves' talks with San Diego reportedly stalled because of their reluctance to give up top pitching prospect Tommy Hanson.
Other stars who could be made available are Colorado Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday and Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder.