Reporting from Denver
Nothing's ever easy with Manny Ramirez, is it?
The Dodgers received what at first glance appeared to be a gift Friday, as they found a team willing to unburden them of Ramirez's remaining salary. The Chicago White Sox were awarded a waiver claim on the 38-year-old former All-Star, according to a baseball source who spoke on the condition anonymity.
With Ramirez's approval, the cash-strapped Dodgers can unload Ramirez and the $4 million or so he is owed for the rest of the season to the White Sox.
But the Dodgers apparently aren't in position to let go of him — that is, they are still in playoff contention.
"We're trying to win," Manager Joe Torre said. "We're certainly not looking to jump ship."
The Dodgers were five games back of San Francisco in the wild-card chase before the game against the Rockies at Coors Field on Friday and General Manager Ned Colletti said that if they have a chance to reach the postseason, he was unlikely to deal any of his players.
Colletti will be forced to decided over the next three days if the Dodgers are in the race or not, as Tuesday is the last day Ramirez can be sent to the White Sox. In addition to being the last day a player must be in an organization to be on its playoff roster, that is the day the Dodgers' window to decide what to do with Ramirez closes.
"My thoughts are going to be fluid from now until then," said Colletti, who declined to talk specifically about Ramirez because league rules forbid club officials from discussing waiver-wire activity.
The Dodgers' options: Let Ramirez to go to the White Sox without receiving anything in return, trade him to the White Sox, or hold onto him.
Ramirez was out of the Dodgers' lineup Friday and replaced by Scott Podsednik in left field, but Torre said that wasn't an indication that there was an impending roster move. Torre pointed out that Ramirez was one for 13 with six strikeouts in his career against Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez. That Ramirez had played only three games since July 16 reinforced the decision.
Torre said he anticipated Ramirez being back in the lineup Saturday.
The White Sox were believed to be one of at least three teams that submitted a claim on Ramirez, as reports out of Tampa and Texas indicated that the Rays and Rangers also did.
The White Sox were awarded the bid by virtue of owning the worst record of the group.
The White Sox and Dodgers were negotiating a deal before the deadline for teams to submit a waiver claim on Ramirez, which was Friday morning.
If the Dodgers trade Ramirez to the White Sox and receive players in exchange for him, they presumably would pay for a portion of Ramirez's remaining salary. If they let him go and ask for nothing in return, the White Sox would be entirely responsible for the $4 million still owed to Ramirez.
When the White Sox made a run to acquire Ramirez at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, they offered the Dodgers $1 million in cash and no players. Ramirez was still owed $7 million at the time.
Heading into Friday, sources indicated that the White Sox didn't want to be on the hook for $4-plus million if they acquired Ramirez.
Asked if the Dodgers had a framework for a deal in place in case they decide to make a trade, Colletti said, "I'm not going there."
Ramirez has a say in his future.
While logic dictates he would be open to moving to the American League to audition for his next contract as a designated hitter, baseball sources said he is seeking monetary compensation to waive the no-trade provision in his contract. Ramirez can veto any move to the White Sox.
Colletti said that he hasn't asked any of his players with no-trade provisions in their contracts if they would consider waiving them.