Manny Saga Keeps Getting Stranger

First, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti was driving across Phoenix to the team's Cactus League opener against the Cubs on Feb. 25 when he abruptly turned around and headed to the airport after receiving a text message from agent Scott Boras, agreeing to meet that afternoon at Dodger Stadium with Colletti and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

Then, in that meeting, McCourt and Colletti made their third formal offer (fourth if you count arbitration) to Ramirez, this one for two years, $45 million. The offer called for a $25 million salary the first year and $20 million the second, but in reality all but $20 million ($10 million each of the two years) was deferred to 2011 and beyond. It also included an opt-out clause following the first season.

Then, after presenting the offer to Ramirez, Boras came back not with a yes or a no, but with a counterproposal of two years, $55 million, presumably to offset the fact that the deferred money carried no interest and also to make sure Ramirez got the same $27.5 million average annual value that another Boras client, Alex Rodriguez, has with his 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees.

Then, believing that he already was offering $45 million more than any other club and that he had absolutely no reason to increase that differential by another $10 million, McCourt released a statement on the night of Feb. 26 saying that Boras had rejected the offer and that negotiations would "start from scratch." That meant the $45 million offer was rescinded, and as of Feb. 27, there had been no further movement.

Notes, Quotes
• Shortstop Ivan De Jesus,Jr., broke his left leg in a collision with the Milwaukee catcher at home play in a "B" game Monday. He was rushed to a local hospital and a decision on whether he needs an operation on the leg will be made today (Tuesday).

• Shortstop Ivan De Jesus,Jr., broke his left leg in a collision with the Milwaukee catcher at home play in a "B" game Monday. He was rushed to a local hospital and a decision on whether he needs an operation on the leg will be made today (Tuesday).

• INF Doug Mientkiewicz signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers and was invited to major league camp. He presumably will compete with Tony Abreu, Juan Castro and Chin-Lung Hu for the final spot on the roster. If Mientkiewicz makes the club, the Dodgers would be his seventh team in the past six seasons.

• Free-agent infielder Nomar Garciaparra is choosing between retirement and a one-year contract with the Oakland A's. Garciaparra, 35, appeared in only 55 games for the Dodgers last season due to left-calf and left-knee injuries. A .314 lifetime hitter, has earned more than $77.4 million in his 13-year career, according to

• RHP Jason Schmidt had mixed results in his first two outings of the spring. Trying to pitch in the majors for the first time since shoulder surgery in June 2007, Schmidt retired three of the four batters he faced in an intrasquad game on Feb. 23, throwing 11 pitches, nine of which were strikes. But in a "B" game against the White Sox on Feb. 27, Schmidt missed the strike zone with 11 of his 21 pitches, walked two batters and failed to record three outs.

• 3B Casey Blake suffered a groin injury while running in the outfield after leaving the Feb. 25 Cactus League opener against the Cubs. The injury isn't believed to be serious, but Blake still felt discomfort as of the morning of Feb. 27. Manager Joe Torre said Blake would avoid all physical activity until the discomfort subsided.

• INF Tony Abreu suffered a groin injury making a lunging defensive play on Feb. 27 against Seattle. Abreu finished the inning but then left the game. He was expected to miss at least three or four days.

• LHP Shawn Estes, who is in camp as a non-roster player and has said he would retire if he doesn't make the club, had a rocky Cactus League debut. Estes was torched for seven runs (five earned) on six hits over 1.1 innings on Feb. 27. Estes, 36, underwent Tommy John surgery almost three years ago and basically has been trying to re-establish himself in the majors ever since.

By The Numbers:
   $1.45 million—Money in potential interest-free deferments included in the one-year, $3.38 million contract signed by new Dodgers 2B Orlando Hudson. Those deferments, which are payable in 2010 and 2011, include all of Hudson's $380,000 signing bonus. The deal also includes $4.62 million in incentives, and if Hudson maxes out on those, bringing his salary to $8 million, another $1.07 million of those bonuses will be deferred.

Quote To Note:  "I was in the double-digit B's by then."—Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, referring to the famously egalitarian boarding procedure used by Southwest Airlines and his last-minute booking of a flight to Los Angeles on Wednesday for a hastily arranged meeting with agent Scott Boras and owner Frank McCourt as the team continued its push to re-sign free agent LF Manny Ramirez.

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