Names Surfacing, but Mostly Talk

The Series are over, the players who are filing for free agency have mostly done so, and "names" are beginning to appear. The first big "name" on the Dodgers' radar has been Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez.

Rumors say the Dodgers will compete with the crosstown Angels for the heavy hitting third baseman, who has turned out to be an Adrian Beltré clone before Beltré forgot to take his spinach with his superman cape to Seattle.

Right now, Ramirez is a better player than Beltré. He would make one great fit in the middle of the Dodgers lineup, but the cost will be high, substantially higher than $10 million per and he's looking for a multi year deal. The last sentence probably is the one which will mean he will be someplace other than in a Dodgers uniform in 2007.

An odd name appearing is that of catcher Gary Carter, fresh off a year managing in Class A. The rumors have the Dodgers asking the Mets for permission to talk to Carter about managing in AAA Las Vegas.

Carter has long wanted to be a big league manager. Problem is, he wanted to START in the big leagues, and so far, he has fallen victim to the Lasorda Dictum, i.e., sorry pal, go get some experience first.

Interesting name, but how in the world does Carter fit the need for a teaching heavy manager? Or are we just hiring names these days? One advantage, Kid Carter loves to talk and thinks highly of himself, so he'd be a great buddy for Tuxedo Tommy. But who would pick up the dinner tabs?

Color Julio Lugo gone. He was expensive. He did very little. He has value as an everyday player someplace, but not in Chavez Ravine.

Looks like Ramon Martinez is hitting the road. He did a great job for the Dodgers and had to end up feeling underappreciated at the end of the season, and rightly so. Joe Girardi says he might sit out managing for a year.

That'd be a nice alternative for the Dodgers so they can see how Grady Little does in year two. Tuxedo Tommy would have to love Giuseppe Girardi but the biggest risk is if Thomas Lasorda will still be in action at age 80.

There are three lefty situational hurlers out there to replace Joe Beimel if Beimel takes a fall for his New York City bistro cut hand - J.C. Romero, Alan Embree and Steve Kline. All are in the Dodgers price range.

The Dodgers may need a backup catcher and two of the intriguing guys available are Greg Zaun, who hits lefty, and Henry Blanco, an original Dodger who is probably the best defensive catcher in the game. With Russell Martin, short of injury, sure to get the brunt of the playing time, the Dodgers could do worse than sign Ken Huckaby, an original Dodger, and a surefire coach someday.

There are bunches of affordable pitchers available in the Aaron Sele price range: Tanyon Sturtze, Roberto Hernandez, Shawn Estes, David Weathers. One lefty starter available who might be affordable because he's coming off an injury is the Phillies Randy Wolf, who, if healthy, is a dandy.

The key to a player's signability is who is his manager. Some of them are nuts in their demands.

The Dodgers got an early start on Japanese players with Hideo Nomo, but they are no longer cheap, and the Dodgers are no longer the Peter O'Malley Dodgers.

After all the talking and speculating is done, we look for the Dodgers to go after a couple of mid-range players, to get outbid for the high ones.

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