McCourt's Dislike Guaranteed Contracts

A chill settled over Dodger Stadium when in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Dodger owners Frank and Jamie McCourt asked if Dodgers fans react negatively if the team were to pay big money to free agents when the nation's economy is in sharp decline and many Americans are losing their jobs?

"If you bring somebody in to play and pay them, pick a number, $30 million, in this bad economy, does that seem a little weird to you?" Jamie McCourt asked Dylan Hernandez of the Times in an interview in East Los Angeles, "That's what we're trying to figure out. We're really trying to see it through the eyes of our fans. We're really trying to understand, would they rather have 50 (youth baseball) fields?"

If that don't frighten you, let me tell you their are many Dodger fans who read this and see what looks like bold handwriting on the wall. The McCourts are not foolish enough to believe the fans will say, "Oh, they are building fields for our kids, let's buy a couple season tickets to tell them how much we appreciate it."

Jamie also mentioned that long term, guaranteed contracts are a big part of the problem. "I think, oddly enough, maybe if things weren't guaranteed, then we could pay for it," she said.

That's a thought right out of the 1930's.

Frank said, "To me, it's more, how do we prioritize?" he said. "Where should we be investing?"

However, the McCourt's said the Dodgers' top priority remained to field a winning team. He said the team's payroll, which was around $120 million this year, hasn't been determined for next season.

We'll let you good readers make of the conversation what you will.

McCourt also explained that only a small percentage of the spring training tickets at Camelback Ranch in Arizona cost $90. (Actually, they can cost as much as $125 for "premium" games.) He called the other seats, which range from $18 to $30 for "regular" games and $20 to $35 for "premium" games, "very affordable."

"And keep in mind," Frank added, "there's also going to be the berm seating at the ballpark," referring to tickets to sit in the grass behind the outfield fences, which will cost $8 or $10, depending on the game.

First Blood --The Dodgers made their first signing when they re-signed infielder Luis Maza a minor-league contract and and made him the first Dodgers non-roster invitee to big league camp in spring training.

Wilson Too Costly-- Ken Rosenthal, senior baseball writer for FOXSports.com, writes the Dodgers, seeking a possible replacement for free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, balked at the Pirates' asking price for shortstop Jack Wilson during recent trade talks, according to major-league sources.

The Pirates, who are also discussing Wilson with several teams, wanted Dodgers shortstop Chin-Lung Hu, outfielder Delwyn Young and a third young player, sources say. Wilson, signed for $7.25 million next season with an $8.4 million club option for 2010, would fit for the Dodgers as a short-term bridge to the organization's top shortstop prospect, Ivan DeJesus Jr.

The Dodgers, however, are not willing to pay a high price in prospects or dollars for Wilson, who turns 32 on Dec. 29, has a below average career on-base percentage of .312 while his career slugging mark is .375. His defense, however, remains strong. They are showing mild interest in free-agent shortstop Edgar Renteria but not Orlando Cabrera, believing that Cabrera would require too long a contract, sources say.

If you believe the rumors, free agent lefty Andy Pettitte is said to have spoken to Joe Torre multiple times about the possibility of signing with the Dodgers. Pettitte has a history of leaving when he doesn't feel wanted, and the Yankees seem disinterested. Still, the Yankees remain Pettitte's first choice. 

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