DANA POINT, Calif. -- Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said what's been obvious for a while, and that is that their talks with superstar free-agent outfielder Manny Ramirez aren't going to result in a quick signing.
"I'm not too confident it's going to be resolved in the next short period of time,'' Colletti said Monday at the baseball general manager meetings.
While Colletti said again that the Dodgers had yet to meet with Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, or make an offer, sources say they intend to make an initial short-term offer at a high annual salary, something along the lines of $55 million over two years. Ramirez, the Dodgers' season savior who hit .397 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 53 games, has made it clear he's interested in getting the best deal he can anywhere, suggesting during interviews in the playoffs that he wants a six-year contract.
If Ramirez sticks to that request, there's quite a gap to bridge in L.A., even if the Dodgers' offer matches or beats AlexRodriguez's $27.5 million annual salary. Considering the fan interest in bringing Ramirez back, some observers of the storied franchise can imagine the Dodgers eventually stretching their bid to three years.
Colletti again disputed the notion, advanced elsewhere, that they'd already presented their proposal, but he did nothing to dispel the concept of a short-term deal at a high annual salary, as SI.com reported was L.A.'s intention a couple weeks ago.
Rather, Colletti endorsed that very idea, saying, "It's obvious the way we have chosen to go whenever possible ... but every situation is different, and every player is different.''
Colletti added, "But it's obviously been our style.''
The reason they prefer shorter deals, Colletti said, is that it gives them "a chance to re-evaluate ... and the player has a chance to re-evaluate, too.''
Colletti had some fun with reporters, listing the left side of the infield, the bullpen and a starting pitcher as the Dodgers' main winter goals. But when someone pointed out that he didn't mention a power-hitting left fielder, Colletti good-naturedly pointed out, "We're always looking for a power hitter. That should go without saying.''
Colletti had nothing but kind words for Ramirez, declining to address the assertion that Manny's effort might be adversely affected by a long-term contract. "What he did for 10 weeks was as good as anyone can do ... " Colletti said. "We saw a lot of good things.''
With up to $50 million coming off their books (Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra and others have expiring contracts, and the Dodgers are expected to buy out the $9.25 million club option on BradPenny's contract for $2 million), there's been some speculation the Dodgers might try for both Ramirez and superstar free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia. But Colletti said, "I think that would be difficult.''