TJ Simers from the LA Times reported last evening that the LA Dodgers are working on a deal to "unload" Andruw Jones and save the team $12 million. Jones is scheduled to make $15 million in 2009, and is in the last year of his contract. How the Dodgers save $12 million is the big question. According to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, here are a few possibilities:
The Dodgers are hoping to spread that money over more years. It could be done through an extension, which would move a chunk of money off the 2009 payroll. There also is the possibility of a deferred buyout, either to facilitate a trade or allow Jones to become a free agent.
The money saved will be used in an offer to Manny Ramirez. If this "deal" happens, it would be a very smart, and creative, deal to say the least. To move salary from one of the worst contracts ever to Manny Ramirez would be quite the coup for Ned Colletti.
This move could be in response to the Troy Renck article in yesterday's Denver Post stating the Giants are "quietly and aggressively" pursuing Manny. Boras, who is also the agent for Jones, more than likely orchestrated this deal to allow Jones to be traded, as the reduced 2009 salary would make him more attractive to potential trade partners.
The $64,000 question is the size and term of the contract offered to Manny. I imagine Ned will attempt to stick to his guns and keep the contract short in return for a higher annual salary....2 years and $50 million could get a deal done. ESPN's Buster Olney has written several times about how much money will keep Manny motivated throughout the season, especially given the state of the free agent market which is as frozen as the credit market was in the 4th quarter of 2008.