The Los Angeles Dodgers are quickly letting the 2010 season slip away. They have few options for trade bait and haven't been seriously included in many trade talks.
Perhaps the biggest name on the roster, left fielder Manny Ramirez, is currently sitting out with his third stint on the disabled list this season, diminishing his trade value even more.
It is clear Ramirez is showing his age. At 38, his legs can no longer stand up to the vigorous workout routines and long fly balls encountered by MLB outfielders on a daily basis.
So, the questions remain:
Are there any teams in the American League that would be willing to employ a designated hitter with a $20 million contract?
Even if there is a trade possibility for the slugger, would the Dodgers get players that will contribute significantly to the 2010 campaign?
Here are five teams, in no particular order, that may at least have a remote chance of inquiring about No. 99, and what they have to offer in return.
Admittedly, this potential trade idea is a long shot. However, here are the potentials:
The Athletics are looking to deal starting pitcher Ben Sheets in favor of gaining prospects to fill out their future roster.
The Dodgers are obviously looking for another starting pitcher to shore up the rotation. Sheets would most likely require the Dodgers to give up core prospects in the form of position players, and Manny Ramirez may be thrown in to take over the designated hitter position while Jack Cust moves to the outfield.
Another trade possibility is adding veteran utility players like Jamey Carroll or Ronnie Belliard to the mix.
The major hang-up is obviously the impact Manny would have on the A's after the 2010 season. Ramirez's contract includes differed payments to be handed out over time. The Dodgers would still be responsible for a large chunk of those funds, with the A's paying off the rest.
It may not be worth it to Oakland to take on Manny's salary, simply for a couple of prospects while only freeing up a little cap room in Sheets' vacancy.
This trade would be ideal for the Dodgers, but very unlikely and may take some time to piece together.
The Blue Jays are another bubble team with a long shot of making the playoffs, due to the fact they are in the toughest division in baseball.
Their designated hitter is no slouch. Adam Lind has belted 13 home runs and driven in 44 RBIs so far this season, but is hitting just .218 while striking out 96 times.
Lind still has the ability to play the field, more specifically the infield, with the benefit of the turf in Toronto making fielding much easier.
The Dodgers could get Kevin Gregg out of the bullpen if they include prospects, or perhaps a back-end starter such as Brandon Morrow or Ricky Romero at a bargain price.
The Indians are a team already focused on building for next season. They are in last place in the AL Central, 12.5 games behind the surging Chicago White Sox.
They have a decent DH in Travis Hafner, who is currently under a four-year contract worth $57 million.
If Manny were to be traded to the Tribe, it may create a logjam at the DH position, but perhaps Ramirez could play left field on a limited basis while Hafner could also share time at first base.
The Indians don't have an established veteran first baseman, a position Hafner has been tested at several times. Nor do they have outfielders, save Austin Kearns, with much big league experience.
Manny could add veteran leadership in Cleveland while finishing a Hall-of-Fame caliber career where it started.
The Indians starting pitching is loaded with established pitchers having much to offer the Dodgers. A few of the Tribe's starters could be a fit in Los Angeles: Westbrook, Carmona, or Masterson. The question would be, who would the Dodgers have to send to the Indians to get pitching help?
The Orioles, like the Blue Jays, have the toughest division competition in the Majors. They are 29.5 games out of first place and may not see the top of the division any time soon without making some serious moves.
The most attention the Orioles have gotten this season wasn't due to a memorable player performance, but rather the First Lady throwing out the fist pitch.
When you are receiving more media coverage for events that occur before the game starts than the actual game itself, it's time for change.
Luke Scott, the Orioles' current DH, is perfectly capable of playing a corner outfield position for the Orioles while Manny takes over the DH spot.
Baltimore is certainly a team looking to buy this season, and they just may be able to afford Manny Ramirez for the remainder of his career.
The Dodgers could pick up bullpen help in the form of two former Dodgers: Will Ohman and Mark Hendrickson, both left-handers that could replace struggling situational lefty George Sherrill.
Both pitchers would be familiar with Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, and would adjust smoothly. However, the Dodgers declined to offer salary arbitration to Ohman last year, so the veteran lefty may not feel wanted in Los Angeles.
The Mariners must be used to dealing with adverse personalities by now—having Milton Bradley on the roster must be like taking a crash course in player management.
With the retirement of Ken Griffey Jr., the Mariners must deal with Bradley while he attends anger management seminars.
Seattle has been a major disappointment this season, and has already sent away their would-have-been ace, Cliff Lee. With plans for the future, the Mariners do have the cap room to take on the remainder of Manny's contract, and they could negotiate a smaller dollar figure with the aging slugger.
The Pacific Northwest provides a perfect atmosphere for Ramirez to wind down the twilight of his career. He may even have the chance to produce for a re-tooled team next season, a team with a chance to contend.
The Mariners, however, have little to offer by way of pitching relief. Besides Felix Hernandez, they really don't have valuable starters. Relievers such as closer David Aardsma or Brandon League may be a possibility, but it is doubtful the Mariners will have significant interest in Ramirez.