Did Manny parlay steroids into Dodgers deal?

Updated: May 15, 2009, 12:59 PM ET
Privately, the Dodgers are very angry with Manny Ramirez -- and I can imagine Frank McCourt's hitting the roof again when this story from Lance Pugmire in the Los Angeles Times drops on his doorstep this morning. Even though Ramirez was suspended for use of hCG, the evidence pointing to further performance-enhancing drug use continues to mount.

Ramirez's testosterone level was found to be more than four times the norm for the average adult male, ESPN's T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada reported earlier this week.

So for McCourt, there is evidence that what he paid for is a player whose stunning performance at age 36 might have been built on the use of performance-enhancing drugs. He agreed to a $45 million deal based on the presumption that Ramirez was clean and would continue to be a highly marketable tool.

But now McCourt might strongly suspect that what he paid for was a slugger jacked up on steroids.

Peter Gammons recently wrote a column about the stunning improvement in Ramirez's performance in 2008:

From 1998 through 2005, Ramirez averaged 41 homers a season. When he was traded July 31, he was on pace to hit 27 homers, a season after hitting 20.

What is the truth, according to Ramirez? We don't know, because Ramirez isn't talking publicly -- other than a brief statement released shortly after news of his 50-game suspension broke. He hasn't spoken to his teammates or reporters.

Until he does that -- and even after -- we are free to wonder whether Ramirez made the decision to juice to improve his chances of getting a big contract. We are free to wonder whether he weighed the possible risks and rewards and decided it would be worth it to roll the dice. We are free to wonder whether he decided it was OK to cheat his fellow union members and take money from McCourt under false pretenses.

Ramirez is likely to meet with teammates today -- or at least that was the case before this L.A. Times story was published. We'll have to wait and see whether Ramirez follows through.

Strasburg update

Stephen Strasburg, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, gave up one run over six innings in San Diego State's 11-2 victory over Utah on Thursday and saw his ERA rise, to 1.34, Kirk Kenny writes.

The rest of Strasburg's numbers for the season:
W-L record: 12-0
Innings: 94.1
Walks: 18
Strikeouts: 174

Kenny Williams' moves

White Sox GM Kenny Williams made errors in the offseason, and now it's catching up to him, writes Joe Cowley. Williams did nothing wrong, writes Chris De Luca.

Dings and dents

1. Big uh-oh: Josh Johnson of the Marlins is hurting.

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