Dodgers Strike a Deal With Jones

An unhappy Andrew Jones and the Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to restructure -- not reduce -- his salary, a move that pretty much means he will not be with the club in 2009. Apparently he will be traded or released before spring training. Jones has been a failure in the Domnican Summer League so far, hitting just .118.

According to multiple industry sources Jones will get a chance to make a fresh start with another team after a horrible first season and in addition could free up money that could be used to e-sign free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez.

Approval of the deal was given by the Major League Baseball Players Association because Jones will receive his entire salary, as well as the possible benefit of free agency should he be released.

Jones is owed about $21.1 million from a back-loaded two-year contract. Instead of paying that total amount this year, the agreement spreads out the Dodgers' payments for as many as six years. The amount deferred could be as much as $12 million.

Jones told teammates he did not want to return to Los Angeles for the final year of a $36.2 million contract signed in December 2007 and would waive his no-trade protection.

The Dodgers' offered two years and $45 million plus an option but it was ignored by Ramirez and withdrawn by the club six weeks ago. Reports from San Francisco indicate the Giants, benefiting from a partial interest in a regional sports network, either have or will make an offer for Ramirez.

The Dodgers lost 16 free agents and that has freed-up nearly $50 million from last year's payroll to this point, not counting whatever the club defers from Jones' salary.

When asked, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said, "We can't confirm that, and right now we don't have a comment."

The Giants feel themselves a contender, which doesn't take much in the National League West, because of the recent acquisition of Randy Johnson. But "the batting order remains more shallow than Britney Spears' reading list," according to a column written recently by Mark Purdy in the San Jose Mercury News.

Proctor Signs With Marlins
Florida added some depth and experience to their bullpen by signing Scott Proctor, who turned 32 on Friday.

According to the Miami Herald, Proctor will receive $750,000, and he can earn an additional $250,000 in performance incentives. Adding Proctor cushions the loss the bullpen recently sustained when Joe Nelson signed with the Rays.

Proctor appeared in 41 games with the Dodgers last year, compiling 38 2/3 innings to go along with a 2-0 record and a 6.05 ERA. He broke in with the Yankees in 2004, and the veteran right-hander has 262 games of Major League experience. The deal is awaiting Proctor completing his physical.

Strangest Rumor of the Year
A San Francisco report that the Giants are pursuing free-agent slugger Manny Ramirez and have offered him a four-year deal, comes from a well-connected source.

Then just three paragraphs down the same report says, "The chances of the Giants signing Ramirez, a 36-year-old left fielder, were unclear. A team spokesperson said, "it's not happening."

We will leave you Gentle Readers to figure this one out.

Lowe Says "NO" to Three-Year Offer
The New York Times reports former Dodger Derek Lowe has turned down a three-year, $36 million offer by the Phillies. Agent Scott Boras would not confirm that the Mets' offer.

"Obviously, we've taken offers from a number of teams," he said, according to the newspaper.

Boras has reportedly been seeking a five-year contract for Lowe at a per season rate considerably higher than the Mets' offer of $12 million.

Lowe was 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA for the Dodgers last season, his fourth with the club. He came up with the Mariners but was traded midway through his rookie season to the Red Sox. He spent over seven years there as a starter and reliever, saving 42 games in 2000.

Derek Hall New Arizona CEO
Diamondback's Jeff Moorad has resigned as the chief executive officer and says he has reached an agreement in principle to buy the San Diego Padres.

Former Dodgers Vice President, Communications, and current Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall replaces Moorad as CEO.

Hall called his promotion "bittersweet" because of his long relationship with Moorad, but added that he looked forward to the challenges of his new position.