Dodgers, Repko Avoid Arbitration

Outfielder Jason Repko gets a very modest raise of $12,500 in base salary, which is now $500k. There are also some plate-appearance bonuses that max out at $87,500 or $90,000 depending on which report you believe. The other three eligibles, Broxton, Martin and Ethier, exchange arbitration numbers with the club tomorrow if they don't sign by midnight tonight.

  Repko, 28, spent most of the 2008 season at Las Vegas and made it through the entire season healthy for the first time since 2005. He hit .283 with 12 homers at Triple-A and played in 22 games during two stints with the Dodgers, hitting .167. He earned $487,500 last year.

Repko's signing leaves the Dodgers with three players eligible for salary arbitration: Jonathan Broxton, Andre Ethier and Russell Martin.

Manny Report
When agent Scott Boras was unable to get the Red Sox to go to $190 million for Mark Teixeira and delivered the switch-hitting first baseman to the Yankees, he closed off what was seems to be the only team willing to give Manny a semblance of anything beyond the Dodgers' standing two-year, $45 million offer.

"If you're a betting person, you have to figure Manny winds up going back to the Dodgers and for the two years," said one National League GM. "At his age and without the DH, it makes no sense for a National League team to go out beyond two years for him. I could see an American League team doing three or more years, but the teams over there who could afford it seem to be set."

Either that, or they just don't want to take on the potential problems. Whether he realizes it or not, Manny's disgraceful bail-out act in Boston last summer has made him toxic with a lot of teams and no matter how many different ways Boras chooses to spin it, his ability to produce no longer overrides his behavior.

The Dodgers will not be blessed with a .400-hitting Ramirez no matter how much they pay him. The last legitimate .400 hitter (Ted Williams) accomplished the remarkable feat in 1941.

The Dodgers may not even get a .300 hitting Ramirez if they sign him for what he perceives is too little. That could results in a less than 100% effort as the Red Sox can attest to.

Those are the realities the Dodgers face in attempting to add his big bat to the middle of their lineup.

Zim Has a Stroke
Former Dodger Don Zimmer suffered a stroke in December. Zimmer, who servers as a senior baseball advisor for the defending American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays, expects to be back at his job by spring training.

Zimmer has always had a reputation for being tough. Once the heir-apparent of Pee Wee Reese's job as shortstop in Brooklyn, he suffered a pair of horrific beanings that pretty much took the edge off his talent. 

Zimmer was the shortstop the first year in Los Angeles and set a range factor of 5.59 that has not been topped over the ensuing 50 seasons.

The Rays senior adviser, who is 78, was stricken Dec. 23 during a family gathering. Zimmer wasn't feeling well but he didn't mention it. However, it didn't take long for his family to take notice.

"They all knew that something was up," Zimmer said. "I tried to hide it as much as I could and I couldn't do it."

Tests revealed he had suffered a stroke, and Zimmer said he was having significant trouble speaking.

Zimmer has improved. He's still undergoing further medical screening and thinks it will just take a bit more time to feel more like his old self, and with a month to go before spring training.

"I'll be all right," he said. "I'll whip this thing.

Fans Batting Practice
The Dodgers hosted their second public batting practice of the off-season and fans took live batting practice "Under the Lights" at Dodger Stadium. Approximately 200 fans paid $500 to attend and and they toured the Dodger clubhouse, threw in the bullpen, played the field, ran the bases, saw their name on the DodgerVision scoreboard, and received VIP gift bags. The event was hosted by Dodgers James Loney and Matt Kemp, and several of the team's top prospects are also expected to attend.

Dodger Blue Notes-- According to the Washington Post, free agent outfielder Adam Dunn's asking price is four years and $56 million.

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