Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti laughed when asked about the reports this week detailing the kind of contract the team is thinking of offering or has offered Manny Ramirez.
The business of how hard the Dodgers should push to re-sign Ramirez isn't a laughing matter to Colletti and team owner Frank McCourt, who will probably be making the most important decision they've made as baseball executives.
But as for how the story is being covered? Well, that's entirely different.
"By the time we get through the weekend, there will be 15 more reports out there that I'll be laughing at," Colletti said.
In an article citing "people familiar with the club's thinking," SI.com reported Wednesday that the Dodgers wanted to offer Ramirez a deal that would come close to matching Alex Rodriguez's record annual average salary of $27.5 million but over a shorter period, perhaps only two years. The New York Post reported Friday that the Dodgers offered Ramirez a two-year, $60-million contract.
Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, declined to comment on the reports.
Colletti said they were fiction, claiming that the Dodgers haven't had any internal conversations about the value or length of a deal they should offer the 36-year-old outfielder. Those conversations probably won't take place at the Dodgers' organizational meetings that start today, because few of the 101 people who will assemble at Dodger Stadium over the next three days will be involved in those discussions.
"We intend to meet with Scott some time in the near future and try to see what's on his mind," Colletti said.
Though only the Dodgers can negotiate with Ramirez during a period that lasts until 15 days after the end of the World Series, Colletti wouldn't say whether he would use the window of exclusivity to reach out to Boras.
Colletti said he would ask Boras about another one of his clients, Derek Lowe. But Colletti didn't sound optimistic about retaining Lowe, saying people around the free-agent pitcher have told him that he wants to live on the East Coast.
One person who said he didn't intend to change the place of his employment was third base coach Larry Bowa, who was being targeted by the New York Yankees, according to reports out of New York.
"I'm loyal to Joe," Bowa said, referring to Joe Torre, who made him one of his first two hires upon becoming the Dodgers' manager last winter.
Bowa denied reports that he had an escape clause in his contact.
The Dodgers announced Friday that their entire coaching staff, including Bowa, would be retained for next season. Also returning will be hitting coach Don Mattingly, first base coach Mariano Duncan, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, bullpen coach Ken Howell, special hitting coach Manny Mota and hitting instructor Jeff Pentland.