On this date a year ago, Hanley Ramirez was batting .363. The Dodgers loved him, and vice versa. The playoffs would happen, and then the contract extension.

The playoffs happened. The new contract never did.

That sets up what could be the most intriguing free-agent drama this off-season. Ramirez might well be the best bat available, but the caution lights — his injury history, concern over his willingness to acknowledge his defensive limitations, and the possibility that signing him could require forfeiting a top draft pick — could make for a fascinating dynamic in the market.

Ramirez and the Dodgers have tabled negotiations until the season is over, Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. Ramirez is on the disabled list because of an oblique strain; the Dodgers hope he can return in one to two weeks.

"We love Hanley," Kasten said." There is still lots of time this season for him to make a big impact in September, and hopefully in October.

"Both sides have agreed we'll sit down and talk at the end of the season and decide. We both decided that makes the most sense. As difficult a season as he's had physically, there is still lots of time for him to have an enormous impact for us."

Adam Katz, the agent for Ramirez, declined to comment. Ramirez, twice asked Friday whether he had a few moments for an interview, declined to acknowledge the reporter.