The Dodgers are talking to GM Ned Colletti about a contract extension

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After playing a central part in the Dodgers’ spending spree over the past couple of months, general manager Ned Colletti is about to be rewarded by the team’s new ownership group.

According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers have opened talks with Colletti on a long-term contract extension. Team chairman Mark Walter confirmed that a new deal is on the table, but said he did not know any details of the discussion. Colletti’s contract is guaranteed through this year and includes mutual options.

Colletti was hired as Dodgers’ general manager after the 2005 season. The team made the playoffs in three of his first four years on the job, but haven’t played postseason ball since 2009. Despite the high-profile additions of Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Brandon League, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett over the past two months, the Dodgers currently sit 4 1/2 games behind the Giants in the National League West and 1 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race.

It’s a little surprising to see this happen before the season ends, as it would be perfectly understandable if the new ownership group wanted to install one of their own guys if they miss out on the playoffs, but they are apparently satisfied with the status quo. And hey, the way the Dodgers are throwing coin around right now, Colletti could make more mistakes like Juan Uribe and Andruw Jones and it may not matter that much.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?