Penny vs. Bowa
Red Sox pitcher Brad Penny told Yahoo.com that Dodgers coach Larry Bowa talked about him to other players behind his back last year and Bowa responded with a colorful critique of Penny’s work ethic, body type and leadership skills.
Manager Joe Torre wanted no part of that volleying.
“Let’s get the games started so we have something else to talk about,” Torre said. “I don’t want to talk about it. I’ll write it in my next book.”
General manager Ned Colletti, who paid Penny $2 million to leave rather than $9.25 million to stay, was equally evasive.
“I choose not to respond,” said Colletti. “I choose to wish him well.” — Ken Gurnick
Dodgers, Ethier Avoid Arbitration
The Dodgers and outfielder Andre Ethier reached a settlement on a one-year contract for $3.1 million just before the scheduled start of an arbitration hearing Tuesday morning.
Ethier, who received $424,500 last year without the leverage of arbitration, was seeking $3.75 million this year with the club offering $2.65 million, with the midpoint at $3.2 million. He also received performance bonuses “at very high levels,” according to general manager Ned Colletti.
“Neither side was tremendously happy with it, the earmark of a successful agreement,” Colletti said.
The start of the hearing was delayed 45 minutes while the two sides negotiated the agreement. — Ken Gurnick
No Abreu, No Dunn, No Panic
How do the signings of Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn impact the Dodgers?
On the surface, two possible options are unavailable should the Dodgers not re-sign Manny Ramirez. Except that Abreu and Dunn never really were serious options for the Dodgers anyway. The Dodgers have been committed to playing out the Manny stalemate to its conclusion.
The signings of Abreu and Dunn might actually help the Dodgers, as two longshot destinations for Ramirez — Anaheim and Washington — apparently are out of play.
So, the Dodgers strategy remains the same: continue talks with Ramirez, hope that the Giants mean it when they say they won’t get into a bidding war for the outfielder, and hope he’ll eventually return to the Dodgers for one or two years.
And if he doesn’t?
The Dodgers plan to go into the season with the lineup they currently have and see if the kids can step up their game a notch.
And if they don’t?
Then in-season trades will be the tactic of choice, only this year they won’t necessarily wait for the July 31 deadline. General manager Ned Colletti expects rosters to be fluid this season like no other.
What are the Giants’ chances of stealing Ramirez?
It all depends on the Giants’ new managing partner Bill Neukom and whether Scott Boras, Ramirez’s agent, can convince Neukom to break from the market’s current downward trend and bid up Manny. One of the keys to Boras’ success over the years is appealing directly to ownership, and not just general managers.
His relationship with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, however, is on the chilly side since the Luke Hochevar drama. Another reason the Dodgers are determined not to bid against themselves for Ramirez.
As for bolstering the bullpen, the Dodgers are in touch with agents for Will Ohman, Dennys Reyes, Jamie Wright and Joe Beimel.
— Ken Gurnick