The door clearly has begun to crack open for his departure.
Question is, when?
After this season, when his two-year, $45 million contract expires?
In August, when he almost certainly will sail through waivers (and when it especially would be incumbent upon the Dodgers to investigate deals for him if they drop out of the pennant race)?
"This club is built with him as our left fielder," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in a conference call shortly after Saturday's 4 p.m. EDT trade deadline passed. "We haven't had him for most of the year.
"That doesn't mean he can't provide us with some help the last couple of months."
Still, the man who stole headlines two Julys ago when the contending Dodgers scooped him up from Boston was back in them for a time in the final, crazy hours as clubs stampeded toward this year's trade deadline.
"We got a call from one team that offered us a very low dollar figure with no players attached to it," Colletti said in recapping the latest chapter in Mannywood. "That's what began it."
Though Colletti would divulge no specifics, industry sources have told CBSSports.com that it was the Chicago White Sox who came calling with ideas of installing Ramirez in the middle of their lineup as they work toward holding off Minnesota in the AL Central.
"Once it was out, a couple of teams called in the last 30, 45 minutes, but it was too cumbersome [to negotiate with the deadline closing in]" Colletti continued.
The GM would not confirm how many clubs phoned the Dodgers regarding Ramirez, only saying, tongue-in-cheek, that it was "a few more than one and less than 30."
Ramirez has full no-trade powers, but given his trouble with his legs this season, it is believed he would accept a deal to an AL club that would allow him a soft landing into a DH role.
"The team that had the strongest interest was trying to get another player that we had interest in with another club," Colletti said. "But that went by the wayside.
"We didn't start the rumor and we didn't float his name. The rumor was started by another team, and I'm not sure what they were trying to accomplish."
The logic there would be that it was a gamble that the Nationals were more eager to rid themselves of Dunn than they let on, and the Ramirez rumors might pique their attention enough to go back to the White Sox and cut a deal for Dunn.
Whatever, no dice.
In the end, Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo called everyone's bluff and wound up keeping Dunn.
Well, first they need to get a healthy Ramirez back into their lineup.
Then, they need to climb back into the NL West race -- they opened Saturday trailing first-place San Diego by seven games, and they were 5 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the wild-card race. Then they lost a crushing 2-1 decision in San Francisco Saturday afternoon.
At some point then -- or during the process -- they'll assess.
One source close to the Ramirez talks Saturday said that "it has to be a good deal" for the Dodgers to trade Manny. And clearly, the Dodgers didn't think they were approached with one.
But with about $7 million remaining of his $20 million 2010 salary, Ramirez surely will pass through waivers, which will give the Dodgers freedom to trade him in August if they're approached with the right deal.
One very good question for now, though, is when the Dodgers might see him again.
Ramirez, 38, currently is on the disabled list for a third time this season, this time with a strained calf. He did not even travel with the Dodgers on their current trip to San Diego and San Francisco, opting to rehab at the club's Arizona spring training facility, and sources say the club has grown increasingly disenchanted with him this season as he has separated himself from the rest of the clubhouse.
The leg problems make him even more of a liability in the outfield, and his power has diminished significantly since last season's 50-game suspension for failing a test pertaining to baseball's performance-enhancement drug policy. In just 61 games this season (the Dodgers now have played 104), Ramirez has just eight homers and a .317 batting average.
When will Manny return?
"That's tough to say," Colletti said. "A week. Ten days, perhaps."
Colletti did very right by the Dodgers this week in adding speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik (from Kansas City), versatile infielder Ryan Theriot (Cubs), veteran starting pitcher Ted Lilly (Cubs) and closer/set-up man Octavio Dotel (Pirates). He's always been at his strongest during the July and August trading periods.
The roster is fortified and manager Joe Torre has even more options.
But as for Ramirez, whose production is diminishing and whose honeymoon in Hollywood is finished ... what's left?
Does the GM believe Manny will finish the season a Dodger?
"I sure hope so," Colletti said, pausing and choosing his words carefully. "I think he will be.
"Yeah, I guess I believe it. How's that?"