Who's Hot For Manny? Grady Little, That's Who

The winter meetings, which used to be great for baseball, full of trades, until agents and stupid multi-year contracts spoiled the mix, are underway at Disneyworld in Florida, an appropriate venue since so much of baseball is fantasy these days.

Even though the number of deals and signings will not approximate the days of yesteryear, there will still be lots of talk.

And one of the major rumors going into the meetings is the so called interest of the Dodgers in Boston Red Sox Manny Ramirez.

It seems the Red Sox want ALL of the Dodgers best rookies plus Brad Penny and then want the Dodgers to pay all of Ramirez' contract for 2007 and 2008 and then pick up two option years for 2009 and 2010, when Ramirez will be as old as Barry Bonds, as fat as Olmedo Saenz, as obnoxious as Gary Shefield, as effective a hitter as the current Mike Piazza and the same worthless fielder he has always been.

Who on God's earth would say yes to such a deal?

According to the chief FOX rumor monger, it is non other than Dodgers manager Grady Little, the same ex-Red Sox manager who preferred a one-legged first baseman who hit about .220 after the all star break than the Pacific Coast League Batting Champ who hit .380 before coming up and began stinging the ball with regularly until Little sat him down.

The same Little who managed his rookie left fielder all the way down from .350 to .300 by messing with (a) his playing time, (b) his head and (c) publicly questioning the kid.

We are learning more and more about brother Little all the while. Little, who gets into a habit and can't get out of it.

Like the habit of using Brett Tomko, a fly ball pitcher,in every seventh inning with men on base already.

If the Dodgers are foolish enough to get stuck with Ramirez, it will be their own fault. The Dodgers then will have to reinvent baseball defense as we know it. Ramirez and one-armed Juan Pierre do not two parts of an efficient outfield make.

As a matter of fact, a young Jeff Kent was barely adequate at second and an old Jeff Kent is NOT. Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra is a better first baseman than ah, er, well maybe me and Holmes and Tuxedo Tommy but few others.

Here is my plan for the winter meetings and for that matter for all deals until spring training:

One. Avoid the Boston Red Sox. Period.

Two. Not only avoid but sit shiva (Hebrew for the death service) on Scott Boras now and forever more, even at the point of severing relationships Eric Gagne.

Three. Do NOT sign Luis Gonzalez, who's homers were down to 15 and going lower. The guy is 39 and plays like it now.

Four. Have a heart to heart talk with Joe Beimel and then resign him if he'll agree to a permanent 90 minute curfew after every night game.

Five. Take all the money left and dedicate it to Barry Zito, who is only 28, instead of ex-Giant Schmidt who has had two injury tainted years and is older than Zito.

Six. Establish James Loney at first until he plays himself off the position. Let Nomar take his pick of third or left or right (moving Andre Ethier to the remaining outfield position).

Seven. Only consider including Matt Kemp or Jonathan Broxton in a deal ONLY if it brings a young impact player that needs to move a real young talent because it can't afford to pay him.

As for Little, well, unless he wants to be a two year Dodgers flash in the pan like Davey Johnson, he had better sit down and spend a lot of time reviewing what Joe Girardi did with the Florida Marlins last year.

Girardi took an untested kid at second and the kid frankly had a lot better year than Jeff Kent.

He took some young pitchers who's names we still don't know and they outpitched vetereans like Brett Tomko and Aaron Sele and Gio Carrerra and Elmer Dessens.

Girardi, even though he is Italian, did not follow the Lasorda rule of only playing seasoned players (actually, he broke the rule himself because he had never managed before).

And he was the Manager of the Year.

If brother Little has not noticed it yet, brother Girardi is NOT currently employed as a big league manager. If he sticks with age, and refuses to use the young talent the Dodgers have, Grady Llittle could find his situation reversed with Girardi.

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