PITTSBURGH - APRIL 05: Manny Ramirez #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a seventh inning single while playing Pittsburgh Pirates during the Home Opener for the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 5, 2010 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 11-5. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Manny Ramirez
We say "all-but official" because the Dodgers are not confirming things on the record, but they are broadcasting off the record to anyone who will listen.
Ramirez was not alone. Casey Blake, Scott Podsednik and Jay Gibbons also went on waivers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
What this means is that any team can "claim" Ramirez, essentially agreeing to take him and the pro-rated part of his salary for the rest of the season (about $4.4 million). Except that's not likely how it will go down -- if a team claims him, look for the Dodgers to pull him off waivers and try to work out a trade with said team. The Dodgers will want to get a little value back, likely in terms of prospects and maybe some picks.
Teams have until Friday to claim Ramirez, and if more than one team claims Ramirez, then the team with the worst record gets him.
However, that is a lot of money to spend, so the only teams likely to take him are teams who think he can add something to their chase for the playoffs and the World Series. Otherwise, what's the point of taking on a large extra expenditure?
A few teams are rumored to have interest in Ramirez.
One is the Chicago White Sox, who are 3.5 games back of the Minnesota Twins for the American League Central division. They have a shot at catching the Twins but the White Sox have had trouble driving in runs. Ramirez would come to them as a designated hitter and could provide some spark there -- Ramirez is hitting .281 on the season with a solid OPS of .894. He's not the feared Manny of a few years back, but he can still hit the ball.
The other teams that have interest are the Texas Rangers, who have had a scout following the Dodgers all week to see Manny. The Rangers are all but in the playoffs -- 8.5 games ahead of Oakland in the AL West -- but they will need more to topple the Yankees or Rays in the post season. Those same Rays are rumored to have interest in Manny as well.
Of course, Ramirez and his agent could muck the Dodgers plans up. Ramirez has a no-trade clause so he could shoot down any plans the Dodgers have to pull him off waivers and trade him by turning down the trade. What likely would happen is he'd ask for some kind of monetary bonus to approve the trade. And all the teams looking at him would likely laugh at that idea.
Or maybe the Dodgers don't pull him back and look for a trade. Maybe they just let him walk. Either way, he will not be announced as coming to the plate for the Dodgers any more.