Manny Re-Signing Leaves Many Holes

As good a hitter as Manny Ramirez is, it makes more sense not to re-sign him for 2009 and beyond. First and foremost, the Dodgers have plenty of needs for next year and beyond, not just one that unquestionably would be filled by resigning Manny.

The money is would cost for Manny would be better served by addressing the Dodgers MANY holes.

The Dodgers must start -- as any smart baseball team would -- with pitching.

As good as Derek Lowe is, the price to keep him would be too high.

It makes more sense NOT to spend more money on Brad Penny.

Mr. Kuroda won 9 games for $15 million.

The Dodgers will and should build around Mssrs. Billingsley and Kid Kershaw. The Dodgers can and should address the 3-4-5 starters with the Ramirez money.

The new kid, McDonald, they brought up in September might be an answer, but the cautious Dodgers are likely to do with him what they did with Kid Kershaw this year, i.e., NOT do what the talent suggests.

Closer Saito will be 39 next year and the Dodgers would be very smart to re-address the closer situation - again with money Manny would eat up.

Second is the up the middle defense: C, SS, 2B and CF. The Dodgers need a better backup catcher than they've had (a regularly rested Martin will be better handled better), Kent will likely retire (or go to the AL as a DH), Aching Back Furcal is probably too expensive to chance, and CF Andruw Jones now has had a really bad year followed by one even worse.

Pitching and defense, pitching and defense. Ramirez solves neither.

The Dodgers will need an everyday outfielder who can throw and hit to go along with Kemp and Ethier. Stuck with Pierre and Jones, they nevertheless can and should find a cheaper answer than Manny.

It is hard to see how a smart ballclub will replace Mssr. Kent, Garciaparra, Sweeney after this season.

3B Casey Blake will probably merit more money than he is worth, so the Dodgers have a need here too.

Now there is the shortstop hole.

Bad Back Furcal wants to stay but at a price that might be over the rainbow considering ANY player with a history of back problems (remember the Jobe Dictum about bad backs). If the Dodgers keep Furcal, they may only be buying the next generation Nomar Garciaparra, the walking on again, off again posterchild for the Disabled List. Reason says go elsewhere.

So the Ramirez re-signing issue is of that of the naked man who needs new clothes, i.e., why spend all your money on the shoes when pants and shirts and basic underwear are needed too.

Signing Ramirez means the Dodgers would field a Lady Godiva team next year, lots of hair and nothing else.

This is not even addressing two other possible Ramirez negatives - the player himself and his agent. Manny is Manny. Like Gary Sheffield, he is a problem waiting to happen. It is not if but when.

The Dodgers were lucky with Manny this year. Wherever he plays next year, the "old" Manny will sooner of later, probably sooner, show up.

And, like Manny, agent Scott Boras, he of the "bad" Wall Street mentality, will work on bankrupting any baseball team -XXXX- with no federal bailouts in sight.

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