Ned Colletti is prepared to wait out Manny Ramirez.

"This is like watching the San Andreas Fault," the Dodgers general manager said yesterday on the final day of the winter meetings in Las Vegas. "Some days you can see it move, and other days it's going to sit there. And in a week or 2 it may move a lot. It's a slow process. It speeds up and it slows back down."

The NL West champions made the free-agent slugger an offer this fall but haven't heard whether he will accept it. Colletti said he last spoke with Ramirez's agent, Scott Boras, on Monday night.

"There's not necessarily a deadline with Manny," Colletti said.

The 36-year-old Ramirez, who came to the Dodgers from Boston at the July 31 trade deadline, batted .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI in 53 games for Los Angeles.

He is coming off a $160 million, 8-year contract he signed with the Red Sox before the 2001 season and said after the season he wanted to test his value in free agency.

"I want to see who is the highest bidder. Gas is up and so am I," Ramirez said at the time.

In addition, Colletti said he exchanged text messages Wednesday night with Paul Kinzer, the representative for free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal. It's no secret Furcal wants a 4-year deal, but the Dodgers aren't necessarily willing to make such a commitment to a player who was limited to 36 games last season because of back problems that required surgery.

Noteworthy

* San Diego general manager Kevin Towers said Cubs GM Jim Hendry told him Chicago was ceasing its pursuit of Jake Peavy, the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner. Padres spokesman Warren Miller confirmed that trade talks with Hendry and the Cubs had halted.

The Padres have been trying to trade Peavy in order to trim payroll following a 99-loss season.

* New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman flew to Houston to make a take-it-or-leave-it, 1 year, $10 million offer to lefthander Andy Pettitte, the New York Daily News reported. Pettitte has been asking for $16 million, the same amount he earned with the Yankees last season.

In other news, the Yankees were reportedly considering a deal that would send centerfielder Melky Cabrera to Milwaukee for outfielder Mike Cameron, according to reports in the New York Daily News and New York Times. The Times report said the Yankees had asked the Brewers to add money to the deal.

* Infielder Nick Punto agreed with the Minnesota Twins on a 2-year contract worth $8.5 million. He declared free agency at the end of the season and had several teams interested, including the Phillies.

* Righthanded reliever Kyle Farnsworth and the Kansas City Royals reached a preliminary agreement on a $9.25 million, 2-year contract. The deal is pending a physical, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press.

Farnsworth was traded July 30 from the New York Yankees to Detroit for catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

The Royals also agreed to 1-year contracts with pitchers Horacio Ramirez ($1.8 million) and Doug Waechter ($640,000).

* Infielder Wilson Betemit and the Chicago White Sox agreed to a 1-year, $1.3 million contract. Betemit was acquired from New York last month in the trade that sent Nick Swisher to the Yankees.

* Free-agent infielder Felipe Lopez and the Arizona Diamondbacks reached a preliminary agreement on a $3.5 million, 1-year contract. The deal is pending a physical, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press.

* New York Yankees catcher Ivan Rodriguez wil return to his Caribbean homeland, ending a more than decade-long absence from Puerto Rico's winter league.

Caguas Creoles president Ismael Isern said the 14-time All-Star catcher will play for the team Tuesday against the Santurce Crabbers. Isern would not estimate how many games Rodriguez might play with the Creoles. *