While there are still some variables before any trade is completed, including a no-trade clause Ramirez holds that can prevent a deal with the White Sox, it's hard to imagine that a transfer for him to Chicago's South Side isn't best for the Dodgers, White Sox and Ramirez himself.
Cost-obsessed Dodgers owner
The Dodgers didn't start Ramirez a fourth straight day Sunday -- he did appear briefly as a pinch-hitter before being ejected for arguing a called strike -- and his sudden benching seems to suggest he's on his way out. Any story with the mercurial Manny in it, however, usually has a few twists. Until further notice, though, there are two reasons to think he didn't start: 1) they don't want him to re-injure himself, thus scuttling a deal or 2) they want to convince him to accept a trade to the White Sox without monetary requests -- though most believe he probably would, anyway (maybe the Dodgers are just making sure).
Another possibility is that the Dodgers don't think he's very good after recently coming of the disabled list, and in that case, they certainly would want to lose a contract that still has $4 million remaining (though $3 million of it is deffered).
Dodgers people have come up with varying reasons for benching a player they waited for weeks to return, from it being a day game after a night game to his lack of success against
One thing about waiver stories though is that they are complicated by the fact that no one is technically allowed to talk openly about waivers.
Some close to Ramirez believe the Dodgers want to rankle him enough so that he'll happily leave. But it's hard to know exactly what's going on there. Players often try to negotiate enhancements when possible, and Ramirez has been known to maximize his financial situation when possible. It might be nice considering what's gone on the past couple years (suspension, recent injury) to think he could just happily accept the lure of a team that wants him and a chance to DH for a contender, but that could be an unrealistic thought.
What does seem clear is that of late the Dodgers don't necessarily want Ramirez in their lineup that badly when they're in a pennant race, while the White Sox do. Chicago won the claim, though two other AL teams, the Rangers and Rays, also are known to have put in claims for the controversial hitter. The Rangers were even willing to put Ramirez in let field.
The Dodgers could just let Ramirez go to Chicago (assuming he accepts) and save the money. Executives around baseball say they don't believe the Dodgers can easily extract a good prospect for Ramirez, though they're certainly expected to try (can't blame 'em for trying). That at least three teams claimed him suggests there is a belief he could make a difference in the playoff push.
McCourt has cut the Dodgers' payroll from $120 million to $83 million (not including deferred compensation) and has tried to save cash almost any way he can, and there's no reason to think that trend won't continue with his expensive divorce trial beginning Monday. The Dodgers did spend $5.25 million on their No. 1 pick Zach Lee (with much deferred, making the present-day value closer to $4 million) although media reports suggest the LSU quarterback was only selected because they knew he wouldn't sign, but may well have forced their hand.
The Dodgers seem to want Ramirez out but it isn't only up to the team, thanks to his veto rights. Ramirez himself is said to be ready to go, but his no-trade clause gives him some power to make demands, even if he prefers going elsewhere. Based partly on the claims by three teams, he may think he holds that power. But he is also a free agent after the year, so if he remains with the Dodgers and continues not to play, that could affect his negotiating power this winter.
Trade talks are believed to have started slow twice for Ramirez, once before the July 31 deadline and again now, it appears, and they have until Tuesday to work it out. There is a lot of speculation and intrigue in this case. But the smart money says he winds up with the White Sox, who want him a lot more.
With a day to go before the waiver trade deadline, here are more of the key players who will be making the big decisions.
• The Nationals have signed
• The Twins made another nice move to bolster their bullpen by acquiring
• Hard to believe the Angels are surrendering this early. But they've come to the realistic conclusion this is the Rangers' year. It'll be interesting to see if the Angels trade any more veterans in the next couple days.
• All the Jays' very good relievers, including
• Anyone who passed on
• The Cubs have interviews set up with
• The Padres' incredible year enhances
• No one should blame the Nats for