Chone Smith, of Anaheim Angels All the Way, has projected 2009 standings for all MLB teams, and has finally gotten around to the NL West:
All 5 teams have a shot in 2009, but if the Dodgers reach an agreement with Ramirez it will transform them from slight favorites to clear favorites. If Manny is a Dodger, add 4 wins to their total, taking one off every other team in the division.
It seems to me not many people think much of the NL West in 2009.
Andre Ethier made a small prediction of his own. Per Diamond Leung of the Press-Enterprise:
Andre Ethier declared that he would break the three-year drought of the Dodgers not having a single player hit more than 20 home runs in a season. Ethier smiled and said before a base-running drill that he would be able to hit at least one more this season.
Randy Wolf seems to have a nice perspective on his contract situation. Per Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times (thanks to Underdog for the link):
“If you’re looking for a big contract, I think you’ve got to basically be on the Yankees’ wish list,” he said laughing. “But you can’t think that way, look back and feel sorry for yourself.
“I play major league baseball. It may not be under what the contract was that the Astros offered, but I make a very good living and I get to do what I love to do. With people losing their jobs, and they’re making $40,000 a year and they’re working their tails off 12 months a year to make ends meet, and they get laid off, it’s not right for me to complain about a contract.”
The Manny Ramirez negotiations seem to be heating up, but no deal appears imminent. Per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, it appears a Manny contract might include a J.D. Drew-esque out clause:
Any settlement will most likely include an escape clause that would allow Ramirez a chance to revisit free agency should the market improve.