Dodgers improve Manny offer

Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and owner Frank McCourt had a lengthy meeting Wednesday with Manny Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, and a Boras associate. The Dodgers extended a new offer to the free agent outfielder.

The offer is for two years and $45 million, but it is structured differently than the Dodgers' previous offer at those numbers. This deal would pay Ramirez $25 million in the first year, with a player-only option for $20 million for the second season, a source told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The previous offer had been structured this way: $15 million for 2009, $22.5 million for 2010, a team option for 2011 for $22.5 million or a $7.5 million buyout. The Dodgers had also previously offered salary arbitration, which was rejected, and most recently a straight one-year, $25 million deal.

Colletti confirmed the nature of the offer Thursday and told reporters he expects an answer from Ramirez soon.

"Scott knows where we stand," Colletti said, according to MLB.com. "It could be [Thursday], it could be [Friday]."

The source said Boras specifically requested a player-only option for a second year be worked into the deal. With that option at the numbers the Dodgers are offering, Ramirez, 37, could guarantee himself $45 million for two seasons, or could walk away after one season for $25 million if he feels his market has improved.

"We listened to Scott, and he wanted the ability for the player to walk after one year," Colletti said, according to MLB.com. "We feel it's a major concession. It gives Manny a lot of flexibility. In nine or 10 months, he can try the market again. That's a pretty good spot to be."

Colletti's absence from the Dodgers' first exhibition game of their first full Arizona spring training had led to speculation contract negotiations with Ramirez are heating up. In fact, according to the source, Colletti flew from the team's headquarters in Glendale, Ariz., back to Los Angeles. He and McCourt then met for 2½ hours at Dodger Stadium with Boras, who said he would get back to them after speaking with Ramirez.

Jayson Stark covers baseball for ESPN.com