View From the Right Coast

The 2004 season lasted a week longer than many of us expected and although the Dodgers lost out to a much better team, they won a playoff game, thanks to a sensational effort by pending free agent Jose Lima. It was former GM Dan Evans who invited Lima to spring training last year as a non-roster player. Lima won a place on the team and won the hearts of fans and teammates.

Jose joins several other players who could move on this winter. Adrian Beltré, Odalis Perez and Steve Finley are at the top of the free agent class. Let's take a look at the four of them:

Beltré--Surely Paul DePodesta's top priority. His re-signing will depend on two things. First how much money will the McCourts provide for DePodesta to stock the team. Second how much will Beltré's agent Scott Boras want for his client and how along a contract will it have to be. I get the feeling that Adrian would like to stay in Los Angeles. The answer lies in the cost.

Perez--His two poor performances in the playoffs, have likely taken a big toll on what Odalis might have wanted and received, as a free agent. At 27 and as a left handed starter, the Dodgers who need starting pitching certainly could use him back. A quality starter is going to cost them in the $5 to $7 million range anyway. But will that be enough to convince Perez to re-sign with L.?. He has to feel bad after the terrible run support he had over his last two seasons. With run support he's an easy 15 game winner and the Dodgers didn't have one this year. I think he may be gone, but it is not unthinkable that he could be re-signed but for a short term from which he could increase his future value.

Finley--He was a very solid addition over the last two months of the season. He is a streaky hitter and is the oldest member of the team. But he appears in good shape. They want him back in Arizona, but after their poor season, does he want to go back to an also ran? Might he want to go to San Diego near his home? And can the Dodgers do better in trying to acquire a power hitting outfielder? It just might be worth offering him a two year contract and see if they can re-sign him for $10-$12 million total. The Dodgers have no outfielder in their system who is ready to move to the majors as a regular.

Lima --Lima has proved he has the talent to be in the starting rotation. The team desperately needs starters. He and Penny and Weaver would give them three. I doubt they can do better for a pitcher to fill the number 5 spot in the rotation. Plus Jose brings passion, color and spirit to a team which surely can use it. He would also likely come at an affordable price tag.