Step one: end negotiations with Manny Ramirez.
Step two: sign Orlando Hudson and before the ink has even dried on that contract, sign an outfielder with some pop, perhaps Ken Griffey or Garret Anderson.
The Dodgers’ offseason has been, for the most part, a disappointment.
For a team that was three wins away from the World Series a few short months ago it is amazing how little progress has been made to improve the team heading into 2009.
Thus far all the Dodgers have done is re-sign Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal to keep the left side of the infield intact and just last week the team brought back Randy Wolf to help round out a rotation that was depleted with the offseason losses of Brad Penny, Derek Lowe and Greg Maddux.
The biggest reason the Dodgers haven’t accomplished much is due to management’s obsession with bringing back Manny Ramirez with a “deal that makes sense.”
Sorry to break the news to the boys in the front-office, but you aren’t going to sign Manny Ramirez to any sort of deal that makes sense. The dude has already turned down a two-year $45 million deal and a one-year $25 million deal.
And when did he turn down those deals? He turned them down in a market where Bobby Abreu—he of the career .300 average—is forced to sign for $5 million plus incentives. The really scary part, Abreu’s deal was with a big market club with lots of financial resources.
The Dodgers have already blown their chance to sign an Abreu or another bopper like Adam Dunn. They’ve done nothing but alienate themselves from the rest of the free-agent market by pandering to Scott Boras and Manny Ramirez for the past three months. They’ve offered respectable deals and been turned down.
Logically, the Dodgers should have taken the hint early on and gone after Abreu or Dunn as neither was offered arbitration and were clearly both willing to sign for less money and less years, two sticking points that the Dodgers can’t get past with Manny and Boras.
Right now the remaining boppers on the market are Griffey, Anderson and Joe Crede who only makes sense if the team wants to move Blake to left field, a position Blake has never played as a pro. He has, however, played 278 games in right field with a career fielding percentage of .979 (note: Manny’s career fielding percentage: .978).
Right now the Dodgers are headed into Spring Training with a much weaker outfield than they had last season, no set starter at second base as well as a depleted bullpen. The starting rotation has some major question marks and the bench is filled with solid defensive replacements, but not much offense.
With the Giants and Diamondbacks both improving this offseason, the Dodgers will not have an easy road back to the playoffs and they have no one to blame but themselves.