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The Line on Nine - As Cheap as Possible

The Dodgers made the deadline and tendered contract offers to its targeted nine free agents; Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Hong-Chih Kuo, James Loney, Russell Martin, Jason Repko and George Sherrill. The other six are gone and will have to be replaced by the start of the season - if not sooner.

Five of the nine are eligible for arbitration which means they can have an arbitrator rule on the fairness of the Dodgers offer to them. Billingsley, Broxton, Kemp, Kuo and Loney are fortunate to be in position to force the Dodgers to make a fair offer. The other four are only in their second year of arbitration so they will have to live with whatever the Dodgers give them. If you consider what would be fair for the five - there's about $30 million spent of the $42.5 million that the Dodgers claim they have available for the free agents.

That means that Sherill, Martin, Kemp and Ethier have about $12.5 million between them; far from what would be fair. And what about pitching?

The Dodgers have to get off of their frugal ways. They have to be willing to spend like the other big market teams out there that compete every year for a place in the World Series, such as the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, Mets; teams where money's not the object - the players - team and the fans are. The Dodgers have the means - they have the earning power to get back whatever they invest. So why not invest into the team and let the gratified fans pay it back and then some. They've already raised ticket prices where there's the largest number of tickets sold and Manny's money is deferred. So where's all the money going? Into real estate? Into McCourt's trust? Into Jamie settlement agreement?

As a fan - I long for the O'Malley class and benevolence, an owner that cared about giving the fans a great team and giving back not just taking. The past five years of having an owner that wants to be a real estate mogul has been a conflict of interest and it will never work. Maybe it's time that he sells the team and splits his $300 million in capital gains with his ex-wife. The Dodgers need to move on and be the team that we the fans deserve. We have given the Dodgers our attendance and our money - now give some of it back or we will turn away and Mr. McCourt, your gains will diminish.

Update: The latest from the rumor mill is that Colletti is talking with Alan Nero - the Agent for Chien-Ming Wang. The 29 year old - right hander was not tendered an offer by the Yankees which makes him a free agent and the perfect storm for Ned Colletti to swim after. He fits right in with the types of free agents the Dodgers tend to go after; guys like Padilla, Wolf, Andru Jones and Jason Schmidt. Guys that are not wanted by the other teams that have a possible big upside if they work out to be anything like they were in past years. If you look at Mr. Collettis average in his success taking such a strategy, you could argue that he's batting .500. So let's see if they go after a pitcher who for the past two years has been hurt and unable to pitch with any effectiveness and was left to the free market by the Yanks, who are a pretty good judge of talent and potential.

Oh yeah - Wang was 1-6 last year with a 9.64 ERA. They say he won't be able to pitch until some time between April and June, probably July. Not bad Ned, definitely within the Boss' budget. He'll probalby be offered $5 million with incentives.

By the way, the Dodgers lost the Halladay race to the Phillies who gave up Cliff Lee for him and John Lackey is going to the Red Sox. Well it was predictable. I hope Billingsley loses 25 pounds before coming to Spring Training.

There's still Jason Marquis.