Dodgers extend another offer to Ramirez

LOS ANGELES – Manny Ramirez received his third offer of the offseason from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, this one for the same $45 million as the first offer in November, although it is structured with more money early in the deal, a baseball source close to the negotiations said.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and general manager Ned Colletti met with Ramirez's agent Scott Boras and top Boras lieutenant Mike Fiore at Dodger Stadium, and the Dodgers presented an offer that would pay Ramirez $25 million in 2009, with a $20 million player option for 2010.

Boras did not immediately accept the offer, but a source said he delivered the offer to his client – a sign of progress because the first two offers were dismissed immediately by Boras. Ramirez, 36, has sought a four-year deal, but only the Dodgers are known to have made any offer at all.

The latest proposal combines elements of the first two offers. In November, the Dodgers offered a deal worth at least $45 million that would have paid Ramirez $15 million in 2009 and $22.5 million in 2010. That deal included a club option for $22.5 million in 2011, with a $7.5 million buyout.

Two months later the Dodgers came back with a one-year, $25 million offer that would have made Ramirez the second-highest paid player in baseball in 2009 behind Alex Rodriguez.

The two sides have had increasingly frequent dialogue, and it is clear the Dodgers want the power-hitting Ramirez, who led them to the National League West title after coming to them from the Boston Red Sox in a midseason trade.

Ramirez demanded that club options for $20 million in 2009 and 2010 be stricken from his contract at the time of the trade, so clearly he would be dissatisfied with any offer that didn't eclipse those options. This latest offer bumps up those numbers, but whether it's enough to get Ramirez into a Dodger uniform soon remains to be seen.