Rumor Mill Grinds Out Eye-Popping Names

As Ned Colletti works the Winter Meetings in Dallas, a vast number of names are swirling around in his wake, leaving Dodger fans gasping at both the names mentioned and the difference between this meeting and meetings past. There are more rumors than in a Royal powder room.

So we are here to report on the rumors -- and remember, that is all they are, glittering as they may be.

In no particular order ...

The Dodgers have had talks with Manny Ramirez, the magnificent hitter that has little regard for defense. With more than $71 million in 2006 payroll committed to 10 players, the $57 million owed to Ramirez over the next three years certainly an eye-opener.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers continue to pursue free-agent third baseman Bill Mueller, who is believed to have received a two-year offer from Pittsburgh.

Colletti said he has made an offer to at least one of the three free-agent third base possibilities -- Bill Mueller, Joe Randa and Nomar Garciaparra -- the Dodgers are interested in, but wouldn't say which one.

The Dodgers were believed still in the running for Boston left-handed pitcher David Wells, especially with San Diego apparently dropping out.

In the attempt to trade Milton Bradley, the Oakland A's passed, but Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker met with outfielder Milton Bradley on Tuesday, a prelude to a possible trade.

Colletti said the Dodgers are talking to "four or five" clubs about possible trades for middle-of-the-rotation-caliber starters, but that any additional offensive acquisitions probably would come via free-agent signings.

And (We were saving this one for last) the Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers have met at least twice this week, and are expected to meet again.

The teams have discussed a deal that would send rightfielder Bobby Abreu and possibly third baseman David Bell to the Dodgers for Derek Lowe or Brad Penny.

In other news:

Outfielder Jason Grabowski, who in two seasons with the club batted .196 and struck out 79 times in 285 at-bats, has signed a one-year contract with the Orix Buffaloes of the Japanese Pacific League.

Apparently the Dodgers plan to offer salary arbitration to pitcher Jeff Weaver by today's (Wednesday) deadline and will probably do the same for Olmedo Saenz if they haven't already re-signed the utilityman.

The club is not expected to offer arbitration to free agents Elmer Dessens, Jose Valentin, Darren Dreifort and Paul Bako.