Dodgers Lead the League in Dumpster Diving

Remember not long ago GM Ned Colletti was mentioning the names of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols? The very thought of those players made the eyes of some Dodgers fans light up, but if you follow the team very closely, you knew it was the wishful thoughts of a street urchin who had his nose pressed against the window of the candy store.

Perhaps dumpster diving is a bit harsh but most of us knew, or should have known, that there wasn't anything close to the amount of money available to interest either of those premier free agents. Real Estate collector Frank McCourt had pretty much emptied the vault some years ago and as a result, Colletti was mostly operating on fumes when the season ended and it came time to rebuild for 2012.

While we are not a supporter of some of Colette's signings over the past few years, it must be pointed out that he has had little or no choice in the matter, despite what he has said about the situation.

Now, when the dream of getting a new owner gets closer each day, we have a new supply of 30+ players who have replaced a group of other 30+ players who were either tried and found wanting or just got too expensive for the Dodgers.

Gone or going out the back door are Rod Barajas, Jamey Carroll, Jon Garland, Tony Gwynn, Jr., Aaron Miles and Eugenio Velez plus old standbys Hiroki Kuroda, Jamie Hoffmann, Jonathan Broxton and probably Ivan De Jesus.

Coming in the front door are Mark Ellis, 2 years, $8.75 million; Chris Capuano, 2 years, $10 million; Jerry Hariston, Jr.; 2 years, $6 million; Aaron Harang, 2 years, terms to be announced; and Adam Kennedy, 1 year, $800,000.

If you were playing Scrabble, perhaps you could line up P-R-I-N-C-E F-I-E-L-D-E-R or A-L-B-E-R-T P-U-J-O-L-S out of those names but we are disinclined to try.

A quick rundown of the new additions:

Ellis: He hit .316 in 2005. He hit 19 home runs in 2007. But he'll turn 35 in 2012 and his home runs have declined from 19 to 12 to 10 to five then back up to seven in 2011 but five of those came in Colorado.

Capuano: His first full season was in 2007 and last season he posted a 4.55 ERA for the Mets. Among 75 NL pitchers who threw at least 100 innings, that ERA ranked 61st. He also coughed up 27 home runs.

Harang: Rumored to be about to sign a two-year deal after a 14-7, 3.64 record with the Padres last season (in the best pitcher's park in baseball).

Hairston: He's a battler and managers love his attitude but that also describes Dave Roberts. Hariston is 36 and is signed for $6 million over two years.

Kennedy: Well, he's a good family man.

The collective signings are at best a stopgap until a real owner who is interested in improving the team takes over. They'll cost the Dodgers $29 million plus Harang's deal. Many of the contracts are back-loaded, so, as we are doing with Manny Ramirez and others, we'll be paying for them for some time after the are gone.

It's hard to see that Dodgers fans will flock to the stadium in 2012 to see the above players perform. So we will again be asked to be patient and wait for a new owner, Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy to come and save the franchise.

Hariston Signed
The Dodgers signed Hairston to a two-year contract. Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti said, "Jerry adds more versatility to our club and will help us at second and third base, shortstop as well as left and center field," said Colletti. "He brings a veteran presence that can also help in the continued development of Dee Gordon."

  Last season, the 35-year-old batted a combined .270 with 21 doubles, five home runs and 31 RBI in 120 games with the Nationals and Brewers. Hairston posted a combined .961 fielding percentage and played five positions in the field, including 49 games at third base, 30 games at second base, 23 games in left field, 20 games in center field and two games at shortstop.

He is a .258 career hitter in 14 seasons with the Orioles (1998-2004), Cubs (2005-06), Rangers (2006-07), Reds (2008-09), Yankees (2009), Padres (2010), Nationals (2011) and Brewers (2011).

Harang Signed
By the time you read this, the Dodgers will have signed right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Harang, 33, who threw 170.2 innings this past year.

His addition will give the Dodgers five starters who pitched at least 170 Major League innings in 2011 and means that promising rookie Nathan Eovaldi will not get a shot at the starting staff.

Hodges Overlooked -- Again
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museums 16-member Golden Era Committee met to consider ten candidates whose greatest contributions were realized during the period of 1947 to 1972 for Hall of Fame election.

The committee elected only Ron Santo. Twelve votes were needed to reach the 75 percent to earn election. Ron received 15 of the 16 ballots cast by the members of the committee. The other voting totals were Jim Kaat, 10 votes; Gil Hodges and Minnie Minoso at nine votes each; Tony Oliva, eight votes. The other five candidates on the ballot, Buzzie Bavasi, Ken Boyer, Charlie Finley, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant, each received less than three votes.

Voters in attendance at the announcement included Jane Forbes Clark, chairman and Jeff Idelson, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum as well as Hank Aaron, Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, Pat Gillick, Roland Hemond, Dick Kaegel, Al Kaline, Ralph Kiner, Tommy Lasorda, Juan Marichal, Gene Michael, Jack O'Connell, Brooks Robinson, Al Rosen, Dave Van Dyck, and Billy Williams.

Tom Lasorda said, "We went over every player, every person, and what the outcome is nobody knows at that time. When she announced how many votes they get, you have to get a certain amount of votes in order to be inducted. That's all it is.

"I am very much surprised that Hodges is not in the Hall of Fame. Just the fact that he doesn't get the votes, and nobody knows why. Everybody has to vote to what they believe is the right way to go, and unfortunately he doesn't get the amount of votes it takes to get into the Hall of Fame. But I'll tell you one thing: He was one of the greatest persons, and he was a great, great player. We just hope that maybe next year we can vote enough to get him in."

Dodger Blue Notes
Outfielder Jamie Hoffman has been put on waivers and claimed by Colorado. The 27-year old outfielder only played in a few games for the Dodgers in 2011. Hoffman last year batted .297 with 22 home runs in Albuquerque. The move will clear a roster spot and soon Ivan DeJesus Jr., will suffer the same fate. ...Free agent SS Rafael Furcal had an appendectomy last week.