Got to be a Muti-Part Plan

The Dodgers did not have a 40 home run hitter last year. Nor a 35 home run hitter. Not even a 30 home run guy. Not even a 25 homer hitter. Beginning to get the picture? Sure, Jeff Kent was hurt. But 40 year olds do. They get hurt more often than they hit 40 homers. You could say the same for Nomar Garciaparra.

So they both are back. They are both a year older. Which means it is not likely they will hit 40 homers, or 35 or 30. Problem is the Dodgers don't have anybody else who did or who will next year. So who's the biggest hitter we've re-signed? Marlin Anderson.

Who's the biggest hitter about to be signed? Juan Pierre. He had 4 a year ago and was lucky to get them. Where are the extra base hits going to come from fellas?

Gotta be part two or part three of the plan.

As nice as Garciaparra fielded, he ain't as slick with the glove or the feet as James Loney. So his return means Loney will be playing out of position, if he plays regularly.

Now Pierre will need help from both his left fielder and right fielder. Pierre can get to the ball, but then he has to shuffle it off to his side mates, or to the shortstop or second baseman getting back in a hurry.

Now left fielder Andre Ethier is in left because HIS arm isn't good enough for center and maybe not good enough to right. Loney in right would be playing out of position to begin with. Kent should not be expected to get back to help too fast.

All this says that so far what the Dodgers have done is weaken the defense without adding any appreciable punch. Heck, there will be more punch at the Baptist Church social than in Chavez Ravine.

Now it is said Carlos Lee turned down the Dodgers overtures because he doesn't want to play on the West Coast. Well, that's a good thing, because while Pierre can run but not throw, Lee in the field can't do either.

The St. Louis Brownies had a one armed outfielder, Petey Grey, during WW2, but if the Dodgers had gotten Lee to go with Pierre, they would have done the Brownies one better and had an entire outfield with only one arm.

Geez, it was said the Dodgers contemplated asking Mike Piazza to be part time catcher, part time first baseman and pinch hitter. With Piazza, Lee and Pierre, the team have had three of the lousiest fielders in all of baseball right now.

Put them together with standstill Jeff Kent, out of position Garciaparra, and the pitchers would have had to make a collective novena for divine assistance - cuz they ain't gonna get much from the cast the Dodgers are putting in defensive positions behind them.

And the Dodgers still don't have a bona fide power hitter. Maybe this is where part B or part C of the plan is coming in. Maybe here is where Ned Colletti does a two-fer and swaps Loney AND Kemp for Miguel Cabrera or for Manny Ramirez (although the thought of Manny next to Juan in left and center does not exactly get the juices flowing).

Juan Pierre, who can not throw, is genuinely a great leadoff hitter, a younger and faster Kenny Lofton, who leaves when Pierre comes in. But Pierre is a $9.5 million a year SINGLES hitter. Singles hitters are not supposed to be paid like HOME RUN hitters. For a simple reason - no matter how fast they are, they don't generate as many total runs.

And the Dodgers already have a dandy lead off hitter, shortstop Rafael Furcal, another very highly paid singles hitter.

So now the Dodgers will have Pierre and Furcal walking and dinging their way on and then swiping their way to 2nd and 3rd, only to die there cuz their ain't narry a number three or number four or number five hitter in sight.

Baltimore Orioles great manager eschewed the bunt, the single, and such and relied on that great old baseball play the three run homer. And he won a bunch of pennants and titles. Quick, remember Weaver's or the Oriole's great speedsters.

In that respect, baseball is like teen age sex in the old days. Lots of nights one would get to first base, once in a while to second, rarely to third and never home.

So the Dodgers had better have a plan B.

The first big signing is about to be done. The first big resigning is done.

The Dodgers have spent $19 million of next year's $100 player budget in these two moves. And the Dodgers still have an iffy pitching rotation without a real stopper, a really suspect bullpen, and no sign of the big stick they need.

The NFL is halfway to the playoffs, the NBA is in full swing, college basketball is underway, the Dodgers are not a lick better than they were at season's end. Surely the moves they've made are the warmup, the prologue, the opening act before the headliner, the serials and cartoons before our old afternoon cowboy doubleheaders.

Have we noticed the MVPs in the two leagues. They were not singles hitters!

Now maybe the physical program guru the Dodgers have hired will reduce the total number of days spent on the disabled list. Maybe he has a magic elixir for guys getting older in bunches. If he had, he didn't use too much of it up last year in San Francisco.

We would have hopes for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft if we didn't see the Dodgers penchant for the older the better. We would have hopes for the traditional trading route if the guys the Dodgers seem to not to want to give a chance to play weren't the guys like James Loney and Matt Kemp and such.

Maybe instead of moving out of Florida, the Dodgers ought to be moving to Florida. That's where all us old fogies are and that's where the Dodgers could find a league more fitting for more senior citizens.