Westward Ho, the Red Soxers

I haven't actually seen the sign, "California, the Land of Opportunity" but it must be there somewhere because their is definite signs of a mass migration from the cold of Massachusetts to the warm beaches of Malibu. Check the names: McCourt, Lowe, Little, Mueller, Garciaparra, Damon ... the list grows long. OK, Garciaparra and Damon haven't signed on the dotted line exactly, but they've done lunch with the Dodger brass and haven't turned up their noses at their offer.

News item from the Hollywood Reporter: "Recent visitors at the McCourt and Colletti offices in Chavez Ravine are the noted World Series Heros, mssrs Jonathan Damon and Nomar Garciaparra. They were met by many their old friends and spent an entertaining afternoon around the pool, sipping tea and talking high finance."

If General Manager Ned Colletti nails down the famous pair, a concerted move will be made to a) schedule an awards ceremony to present the GM of the Year award, the first time it was ever presented before the season actually started and b) stop calling Frank McCourt a tightwad.

T.J. Simers might go out of business.

Damon told WBZ-TV on Thursday that he could be playing in either New York or Los Angeles next season. "There's a good chance," he said. "We're still talking. I should know in the next couple of days."

The five-time All-Star is considering several teams, but Dodgers might have an advantage because he and his wife, former soccer star Mia Hamm, live in Manhattan Beach.

An email to media members from Arn Tellem, Garciaparra's Los Angeles-based agent, didn't give any clues to where his client is headed.

"Nomar is very pleased to have several attractive options for next season," it read. "He is weighing all of them carefully and hopes to make the best decision for him and his family in the very near future. The decision will not, however, be made today."

Damon's agent, Scott Boras, has been seeking a seven-year contract for Damon averaging about $12 million.

Garciaparra, 32, is believed to have narrowed his choices to the Dodgers, Cleveland, Houston and the New York Yankees, and it is believed he would be willing to sign a one-year deal in the $6 million-to-$8 million range. But each of the four clubs will want Garciaparra to switch positions, with the Dodgers likely to move him to either first base or left field.

"We had a tight-knit group in Boston," said Damon. "I'd like to be in a place that is comfortable. And hey, Nomar could end up with me in either LA or New York."

And if that isn't enough excitement for you ...

The Dodgers continue to pursue free-agent outfielders Kenny Lofton, Reggie Sanders and Preston Wilson.

BA Best Tools list-- We received a request for the Baseball American 'Best Tools' list they recently published. So here it is"

Best Hitter for Average: Blake DeWitt
Best Power Hitter: Joel Guzman
Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Russell Martin
Fastest Baserunner: Trayvon Robinson
Best Athlete: Matt Kemp
Best Fastball: Jonathan Broxton
Best Curveball: Chad Billingsley
Best Slider: Jonathan Broxton
Best Changeup: Julio Pimentel
Best Control: Chad Billingsley
Best Defensive Catcher: Russell Martin
Best Defensive Infielder: Chin-Lung Hu
Best Infield Arm: Andy LaRoche
Best Defensive Outfielder: Cody Ross
Best Outfield Arm: Xavier Paul

Lime Time Again?-- Los Angeles fans who campaigned for charismatic pitcher Jose Lima before he was allowed to become a free agent and eventually sign with Kansas City may be able to resume picketing the Dodgers front gate.

Mostly, they didn't understand that Lima, because of arbitration rules, could not be re-signed as inexpensively as other teams could sign him as a free agent.

But now Lima is available again and it is rumored that the Padres were interested in him.

With the obvious shortage of veteran starting pitchers in the Los Angeles stable, signing Lima to a $500,000 non-guaranteed, non-roster contract for 2006 might not be such a bad idea.

No one expected him to come up with 13 wins in 2004 and just maybe he has another such season in that old right arm.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Kansas City signed former Dodger and most recently Cardinal second baseman Mark Grudzielanek. They also signed first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz. Just imagine reporting a 6-4-3 double play with those two names involved. I'd like to hear Dizzy Dean's or Harry Caray's rendition of that. They Royals must have hit a vein of gold along the Missouri river became they are certainly starting to spend money more freely than before.