- Tony Jackson, ESPNLosAngeles.com
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MILWAUKEE -- Manny Ramirez, who was in left field and batted third against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night, might have been playing his final game for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez had a scheduled day off and was out of the lineup for Thursday's 7-1 win over the Brewers, and there is a strong chance he could be traded to the Chicago White Sox.
The Dodgers placed Ramirez on waivers Wednesday, sources told ESPN.com.
The two clubs already are discussing a possible trade involving Ramirez despite the fact the veteran left fielder won't clear waivers until Friday, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday. Although the Dodgers can't officially trade Ramirez to the White Sox, or to any other team, until the waiver process is complete, the teams are engaged in talks in anticipation that either the White Sox will secure a waiver claim on Ramirez or Ramirez will clear waivers.
MLB teams have until Friday afternoon to put in a claim on Ramirez. National League teams will have the first chance to claim Ramirez. Waiver rules require that he pass through all NL clubs first before AL teams have an opportunity to put in a claim.
Any team that's awarded the claim would have until Tuesday afternoon to work out a trade with the Dodgers.
"It's not easy to get anything [done] and that's why the [July 31] trading deadline is so important," White Sox general manager Kenny Williams told ESPNChicago.com. "You try to make sure you fortify your team and you exhaust yourself to do it because you just don't know what the waiver wire will yield, and this year, it seems like there have been more blocks than there have been in the past."
Even if the Dodgers and White Sox -- or another team -- were to agree on a trade, Ramirez could nullify the deal under the no-trade rights granted him by his current two-year, $45 million contract, which expires after the season.
If he vetoed a deal, the Dodgers would be required to pull him back from waivers -- and could not trade him for the remainder of this season.
It's also possible Ramirez would ask for compensation if he approves a trade or waiver claim.
Ramirez refused to comment before Wednesday's game.
Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Wednesday he believes Ramirez would prefer to remain with the Dodgers for the rest of the season, although that falls well short of predicting that Ramirez will reject a trade.
"Manny has always expressed that," Torre said. "I know he has had a tough year. I think what will help him right now is just to get a few hits in a game, and all of a sudden, things will feel a lot better, I'm sure."
Any team that makes a waiver claim on Ramirez runs the risk of being on the hook for the roughly $4.3 million remaining on his contract if the Dodgers simply let him go.
However, teams are not convinced the Dodgers would dump Ramirez's contract on any club that claims him. The Dodgers, rather, are likely to explore a trade in which they pick up some of the money but receive a prospect or prospects in return, sources tell ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
By waiting for Ramirez to clear waivers and then working out a trade, which presumably would involve a couple of minor league prospects going back to the Dodgers, the White Sox could get the Dodgers to pay a significant portion of what Ramirez is owed.
The structure of Ramirez's contract might make him more attractive to teams interested in the slugger. Any team that makes a move for Ramirez would owe him a prorated portion of his $20 million salary. However, about three-quarters of his salary is deferred.
If a team were to acquire Ramirez, it would owe him only $1.1 million for the rest of this season and about $3.3 million in deferred salary.
On Tuesday, a league source told ESPNChicago.com that the Chicago White Sox would put in a claim on Ramirez once he hit waivers. FoxSports.com first reported the White Sox intended to make a claim.
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski supported the idea of putting in a claim on Ramirez.
"Sure, why not? He's one of the best right-handed hitters in all of baseball of all time," Pierzynski said on "The Afternoon Saloon" on ESPN 1000. "How can you not say, 'I want Manny Ramirez on my team.' That's something that would never be said. As long as he's healthy and he can play, it's impossible to say you don't want Manny Ramirez."
Ramirez, a 12-time All-Star, has played in just 63 games for the Dodgers this season and has been on the disabled list three times, twice because of a right calf strain. He was most recently activated on Saturday, after which he went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts in his first two games.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, ESPN.com senior baseball writer Jayson Stark, ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine and Doug Padilla, and The Associated Press was used in this report.