The Washington Nationals And The MLB Hot Stove: I Thought The Nationals DIDN'T Want Manny Ramirez...?

(ed. note - "But Before the Manny Ramirez News, It's The...")

Serie del Caribe...Caribbean Series Update...

Here's the news from the first game of the Caribbean Series, Ronnie Belliard looks slimmed down, he still likes to watch his home runs, he's still clutch and he maintains his odd knack of dropping the ball each time a grounder is hit his way, though he still recovers quickly and usually throws runners out in time, outside of the one throw of his today, which skipped on Licey first baseman Willy Aybar, and eventually led to a run scored by the Venezuelan entry in the Caribbean Series round-robin first round, the Tigres de Aragua. 

Aragua right-hander Brad Knox threw 6.1 hitless innings, K'ing 5, and walking 5, including Jose Bautista, the last batter he faced in the seventh, who scored in the next AB when Aragua reliever Yohan Pino served up a hanger for Belliard's blast, which tied the game at 2-2 a half-inning after Venezuela had taken a 2-0 lead. But it was a leadoff walk in the ninth by Licey reliever Victor Marte that would eventually come around to score the winning run for the other (bad?) Tigres from Aragua. 

Anderson Hernandez? The Tigres' second baseman, who's also slated to start there for the Nationals in '09, has a lot more hair than the last time you saw him...it's kinda DY-ish, sticking out from underneath the cap...more importantly, he finished off two nice DP's that Belliard started from third this afternoon, but came up empty at the plate, 0 for 3 with a walk and 2 stolen bases in the losing effort... 

Final Score 3-2 Venezuela.

Tomorrow at 5:00 pm EST, Dominican Republic vs Puerto Rico...The Caribbean Series on the MLB Network...

LA TIMES??

Dateline: Los Angeles 6:52 PM PST, February 2, 2009...

The reports out of Los Angeles, home of the Dodgers, in an article by Los Angeles Times' writer Dylan Hernandez entitled, "Dodgers make one-year offer to Manny Ramirez", which are of concern to the baseball fans on this coast, in the nation's capital, are contained in the next-to-last paragraph of Mr. Hernandez's article, (about what is believed to be the Dodgers' $25M dollar one-year offer to the 36-year-old free agent outfielder), where the Times' writer claims:

"The New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals are known to be monitoring the situation, but don't appear to be inclined to pay him more than $20 million a season."

Wait? Didn't DC GM Jim Bowden tell MLB.com's Bill Ladson a little while back, (ed. note - "it was the 12th of November,") in an article entitled, "Nationals not pursuing Ramirez", that the Nationals were not pursuing Manny Ramirez? Or as Mr. Bowden wrote himself, in an email which was quoted by Mr. Ladson in the article:

"We are not pursuing Manny Ramirez."

The next time Ramirez's name came up in connection with DC's Nationals was in late December, (ed. note - "The 31st to be exact,"), and it was in another article by MLB.com's Bill Ladson, this one entitled, "Nationals not interest in Ramirez", where Mr. Ladson again noted that, according to "a baseball source who asked not to be identified":

"Published reports continue to indicate that the Nationals have serious interest in free-agent slugger Manny Ramirez. Not so..."

Now, I understand that no one believed Manny Ramirez would still be unsigned as late as February 2nd, with just twelve days left before pitchers and catchers report, (at least for DC?)...and allowing for the fact that Mr. Bowden, like any manager doing his due diligence, would, of course, be "monitoring" the Ramirez situation, as the LA Times' Mr. Hernandez describes it...I'm still slightly confused, since Mr. Hernandez, before writing that the Mets, Giants and, "...Washington Nationals...don't appear to be inclined to pay him more than $20 million a season," notes that Ramirez's agent Scott "Maximum" Boras:

"...is asking for a four-year contract with an option for a fifth at more than $20 million a season."

Which implies...What? That the Nationals are....willing to give Manny Ramirez as much as $20M per, or 4-5 years and $80 million dollars, but no more??? I have a hard time believing that's true...Would Washington actually consider giving a 4-year/$80 million dollar deal to a 36-year-old free agent outfield with suspect defense and a slightly erratic disposition...We, uh, know DC GM Jim Bowden likes Manny Ramirez, but...? Is keeping him away from the Hated Mets reason enough to sign Ramirez? Will Manny Ramirez be "Alfonso Soriano II" for DC, and stay one season and get traded or bring back draft picks if he signs elsewhere? I still think Manny ends up back in LA with the Dodgers, but...

(ed. note - "The only other story of the Dodgers' offer is from ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, in an article entitled, "Source: Dodgers make offer to Manny", which makes no mention of any other suitors for Ramirez...")

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