Dodgers May Extend Little's Contract

General Manager Ned Colletti and Manager Grady Little have worked well together and he will probably have his contract extended or re-written completely.

A 2008 option was written into Little's original two-year deal and the team is anxious to not put him into the position of managing through 2007 without knowing his future.

The Dodgers improved by 17 games in 2006 and made the playoffs with an 88-74 record, tying for the Western Division title although San Diego was awarded the winner's spot in the playoffs on the strength of the head-to-head meeting between the two teams.

It seems that landing a slugger is not in the cards before spring training opens in the middle of February. However, a trade could still be made during the season with one of the Dodger starting pitchers being swapped for a bat.

The Dodgers added just two position-players: Juan Pierre (five years, $44 million) and an Luis Gonzalez (one year, $7.35 million).

So at the present time, this is how the lineup seems to be set up:

Pierre's speed gives the Dodgers' lineup an extra boost and Gonzalez, who will turn 40 in September, had 52 doubles last season for Arizona. Andre Ethier will be the third outfielder.

The infield will be identical to the one they ended 2006 with, Nomar Garciaparra at first, Jeff Kent at second, Wilson Betemit at third and Rafael Furcal at short.

Russell Martin will handle the bulk of the catching, with veteran Mike Lieberthal joining the club to back him up.

The Dodger rotation of Jason Schmidt, Derek Lowe, Randy Wolf and Brad Penny have won 368 major league games while positing a winning percentage of .556 and have worked in 31 postseason games.

Manager Little is pleased with the club. "We really like our club. Ned (Colletti) is trying to make it better, but if we started the season tomorrow, I would be happy with what we have.

"Our starters last year didn't have a hard time throwing 100pitches, but they just did it by the fifth inning. We need them to be more efficient with their pitches."

After Mark Hendrickson signed a one-year contract, and made it clear that he was a starting pitcher, not a reliever, left-handed reliever Joe Beimel is the only arbitration-eligible player unsigned and he and the club have exchanged salary figures.

Beimel, who cutting his hand in a New York bar before the playoffs in New York and missed the entire post-season, is seeking $1.25 million. The club is offering $912,500.

Arbitration hearings take place during the first two weeks of February.

Dodger Blue Notes-- -- Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton will be the Washington Nationals' new TV color analyst. Sutton will replace another former Dodger, Tom Paciorek, and will team with play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter. Sutton retired from baseball in 1988 and worked as a TV analyst on Atlanta Braves games on TBS. …Cincinnati made former Dodger executive Terry Reynolds director of player development. …Former Dodger minor league director Jerry Weinstein signed to manage Class A Modesto in the California League. … Ex-Dodger infielder Ricky Ledee has played for seven organizations in seven seasons and now, age 33, is having a hard time catching on with a team.