This is a good deal for both sides, so let’s get it done and move on

Not that Scott Boras is going to listen to ME. But I think I speak of all the beat hacks — and a lot of people inside the Dodgers organization — when I say this Manny Ramirez issue needs closure. I’m guessing you, the fans, are getting pretty tired of it, too. We have been following this story almost daily since the end of last season, and really, nothing has changed. Until today, or the past few days, or whenever this all started to come together, nothing had really changed on either side in all that time. That having been said, I do think that if this deal gets done, the Dodgers have a chance to be really, really good, especially if they can pick up another frontline starting pitcher along the way and especially if Jonathan Broxton comes through as the new closer. This lineup is going to be scary, with Furcal and Hudson at the top and probably a right-left-right-left look from three through seven. See you in the morning … unless something happens sooner than that.

Dodgers make offer to Ramirez, deal could be at hand

From what I understand, though, there WON’T be a deal tonight. The offer is a two-year, $45 million contract, with salaries of $25 million the first year and $20 million the second, but the second year is a PLAYER option so Manny can walk away if he believes he can get more on the open market next winter. If he is injured during the first season, the second year becomes guaranteed. Boras and Co. have taken it under advisement, and the club is expecting a response early tomorrow.

McCourt, Colletti, Boras allegedly meeting, allegedly at Dodger Stadium

Gurnick wrote earlier today that they are meeting, and I have been able to semi-confirm that, as well as semi-confirm the fact that said meeting is taking place at Dodger Stadium. What I can tell you, from my own observations, is that people are behaving strangely, or at least at odds with their normal behavior. This could be it, folks. Stay tuned. It might be a long evening.

Cubs 5, Dodgers 3

The North Siders got their long-awaited revenge for last October’s three-game Division Series sweep. OK, not really, but they did get a grand slam from Micah Hoffpauir off an ineffective Ramon Troncoso, who couldn’t get his sinkerball working or keep his fastball down in a rough fifth inning that also included a costly error by Hector Luna. The Dodgers got two hits from James Loney, but no more than one by anybody else. Tony Abreu drove in a pair with a second-inning single, and Blake DeWitt drove in the Dodgers’ other run with a fourth-inning single after Matt Kemp singled and stole second. … The fifth-starter race is officially under way, but Rick Honeycutt said they’re not doing a lot of evaluating this early in the spring. Claudio Vargas started, had a rough first inning, then breezed through the second. Eric Milton followed, had a rough third inning and then a rough fourth but somehow didn’t give up a run. Dodgers fall to 0-1 for the spring. At the Giants tomorrow.

Joe Garvey dies at age 81

Steve Garvey’s father, you may recall, was the Dodgers’ spring-training bus driver, which led to Steve becoming the team’s bat boy as a youngster before he grew up and became the Dodgers’ star first baseman. Ken Gurnick had the story last night, along with some quotes from Steve Garvey about his dad. Here is the link:

http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090224&content_id=3878560&vkey=news_la&fext=.jsp&c_id=la

Furcal, Hudson will play next two games, Mark Loretta will play 1B

Torre said he wants Furcal and Hudson playing together the next TWO games, because Saturday’s game is in Tucson, and he doesn’t want Furcal sitting on a bus that long because of his history of back problems. That’s a fringe benefit for Hudson, who, because of the fact that Torre wants them playing together or sitting out together all spring, won’t have to make any Tucson trips. Loretta will play 1B at the Giants today because Joe wants to get a look at him there as a possible sometime-replacement for Loney against a tough left-hander or if Loney needs a day off. Loretta has made 197 career appearances there, but only two last year.

Rick Monday out with the flu

Not sure yet who is going to fill in on the broadcast, but Josh Suchon and Ken Levine are both here, so guessing it’s going to be one of them. … Just a small note to that ticket-office employee who has become a national story this morning, although thankfully, ESPN was merciful enough to bleep out his name when playing that voicemail recording over and over and over again: this, too, shall pass.

Here is today’s lineup
LF Pierre
C Ausmus
RF Ethier
1B Loney
3B Blake
CF Kemp
2B DeWitt
DH Young
SS Abreu

RHP Vargas

Five Dodgers named to final WBC rosters

Only two of them, Jonathan Broxton (USA) and Russell Martin (Canada) are 40-man roster guys. The others are infielder Luis Maza (Venezuela), outfielder Val Pascucci (Italy) and catcher Kenley Jansen (Netherlands). Jansen, who is from Curacao and speaks, like, five languages, is the only one who isn’t in big-league camp. These guys are all expected to leave on Sunday.

After looking into dodgersnation’s posted comment …

… I have discovered that the Dodgers’ ticket-office employee who left that voice mail got a little overzealous. I don’t want to mention the person’s name or throw him under the bus, and Josh Rawitch tells me this person is actually one of the more conscientious employees in that department. But after playing the voicemail recording for Josh and having Josh make a phone call for me, I have learned that this employee’s “inside information” was inaccurate. The Dodgers are not “on the verge” of signing Manny Ramirez. That isn’t to say it won’t happen tomorrow, this weekend or next month. But as of this moment, they don’t appear to be closing in on any deal. But thanks, dodgersnation, for posting that on your web site. It certainly gave us something to get excited about, if only for a few minutes, on what has really been the first slow-news day of the spring. OK, back to whatever you were doing.