While everyone waits for the inevitable word of Manny Ramirez being placed on waivers to facilitate his possible departure (most likely to the Chicago White Sox, it appears at this juncture), the greater intrigue remains about what might happen with Dodgers that have actually been productive.

Let’s create a hypothetical using tonight’s scheduled Dodger starter, Hiroki Kuroda. A rumor hit Wednesday that the Dodgers placed Kuroda on waivers. That rumor hasn’t been corroborated, and in fact, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com today that he “hadn’t thought about” Kuroda and wasn’t even aware of whether the righty was on waivers. So who knows?

As with Ramirez, placing Kuroda on waivers wouldn’t mean the Dodgers would automatically lose Kuroda. It’s a procedural move that just creates the possibility of a deal. But in the case of Kuroda, who is having his most fit and fine season in the majors, the return might be bigger than it would for Ramirez.

If Kuroda has in fact been placed on waivers, there would be a 48-hour time limitfor a team to acquire his rights (or the window to negotiate a new contract with him). If no new contract is negotiated, Kuroda’s impending free agent status wouldn’t be affected, except in the sense that a trade would allow him to become familiar with a non-Dodger environment.

With the Dodgers closing to within 6 1/2 games of the National League wild-card lead Wednesday — still a long ways out, but not obliterated beyond recognition — I’d say the chances of a Kuroda trade are small. Ned Colletti has said it will take a lot for him to give up on this year’s team. But if he gets offered a lot … who knows?