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Manny Ramirez is said by a friend to be disillusioned by his free-agent market, but the friend emphatically shot down the rumor Ramirez would consider retiring over the slow-moving market. "No way,'' the friend said.

Apparently, Ramirez was envisioning the sort of early feeding frenzy being enjoyed by another free agent slugger, Mark Teixeira. While Teixeira has five teams chasing him with offers believed to be for $160 million or more, Ramirez has one known offer: the initial $45-million, two-year Dodgers bid.

Teixeira has certain advantages such, as his youth (28), his all-around play (he's a two-time Gold Glove winner at first base in addition to his slugging prowess) and his spotless reputation (for instance, he never forced a team to trade him). Teixeira, though, has said he intends to try to do a deal by Christmas, which means Manny's market should take off thereafter.

At least two potential losers in the five-team Teixeira Sweepstakes are likely to pursue Ramirez (Yankees and Angels), and perhaps a third (Nationals) would, too. The incumbent Dodgers remain interested. All of which should cheer Manny's spirit if he's just a little more patient.

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