Dodgers, Ramirez Remain In Early Stages Of Extension Talks

The Dodgers locked up Clayton Kershaw with a historic seven-year contract extension last week, guaranteeing the game's best pitcher an annual salary of at least $30MM for the next five seasons and possibly as much as $215MM over seven years. That pact crosses one major extension candidate off GM Ned Colletti's list, but Hanley Ramirez still has just one year left on his deal. According to Yahoo's Tim Brown, the Dodgers and Ramirez remain in the "early stages" of extension discussions, but talks are ongoing (Twitter link).

Apparently, not much has changed on the Ramirez front since late November, when talks were then said to be ongoing as well. Clearly, the Dodgers have had their fair share of business to attend to, as since that time they've extended Kershaw, aggressively pursued Masahiro Tanaka and signed five free agents to Major League deals. As shown in MLBTR's Transactions Tracker, Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell, Chris Perez, Jamey Wright and Juan Uribe have all been signed in that time, and the club also worked out a trade with the Mets for their Rule 5 Draft selection.

Presumably, their courtship of Tanaka is the top priority in the coming week, given the fact that the highly touted right-hander's deadline to sign is this Friday. Adding Tanaka to the mix would seem to be the final piece to a rotation that already includes Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu and Dan Haren, leaving a Ramirez extension as one of the last remaining keys to the offseason. Of course, landing Tanaka could lead to further trade discussions for Colletti in regards to Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett (my own speculation). Bronson Arroyo is reportedly on their short list of targets, should Tanaka not agree to don Dodger blue for the next several years.

Regardless, a great deal of the Dodgers' work appears to be done for the winter, which would leave Colletti and his staff with roughly two months to work out an extension for Ramirez prior to Opening Day 2014.

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