Ken Rosenthal at FOXSports.com has some good news:
With or without Manny Ramirez, the Dodgers are in an unusually flexible position. Their payroll is in the low $70 million range, according to internal projections, even when including the yet-to-be-determined salaries of the team's four arbitration-eligible players — pitcher Jonathon Broxton, catcher Russell Martin and outfielders Andre Ethier and Jason Repko. [...]
If the Dodgers fail to sign Ramirez, they could turn to a more inexpensive free agent such as Adam Dunn or Bobby Abreu. Or, they could simply start the season with an outfield of Ethier, Matt Kemp and Juan Pierre.
Like many teams, the Dodgers believe that trade bargains will emerge if the economic crisis leads to declining attendance and financially strapped teams need to dump payroll.
First, Repko just agreed to a one-year, $500,000 contract, so make that "the low $70.5 million range."
Second, you might want to tack on an additional $10 million to that figure. Take a look at some other estimates of the Dodgers' 2009 payroll:
|True Blue LA||$79,900,000|
Be it $70 million or $80 million, this new-found flexibility means one thing: Manny will be the last piece of exciting roster news until the trade deadline of July 31. Enjoy the suspense while you can!