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So now what?

The Dodgers have shown Takashi Saito the door (he seems pretty happy about it, doesn't he?)

I'll miss him. With Saito a free agent, that leaves Jonathan Broxton in the closer's role. I'm not completely comfortable with that, mostly because we Dodger fans have been spoiled with Saito and Eric Gagne the last five years, and Broxton can't match their kind of day-in, day-out domination. Broxton probably just needs another year of maturity. I think he'll be all right.

Meanwhile, while the Yankees are throwing cash at pending disasters, the Dodgers still need a starting pitcher, a set-up man for Broxton, a shortstop, and Manny to come to his senses. That's a lot of work to do, considering the winter meetings are done and L.A. doesn't want to give up much of its talent trade-wise.

So since the trade route doesn't look good at the moment, here's a look at what free agents are still out there in each key category:

Starting pitcher: Tony Armas, Paul Byrd, Josh Fogg, Freddy Garcia, Jon Garland, Mark Hendrickson, Livan Hernandez, Jason Jennings, Randy Johnson, Derek Lowe (he ain't coming back), Brad Penny (him either), Braden Looper, Pedro Martinez, Mark Mulder, Jamie Moyer, John Parrish, Carl Pavano (HA!), Odalis Perez (no, not again), Oliver Perez, Andy Pettitte, Sidney Ponson, Mark Prior, Kenny Rogers, Glendon Rusch, Ben Sheets, Randy Wolf (no, not again II)
Best of the bunch: Garland, Johnson, Lowe, Pettitte, Sheets

Reliever: Joe Beimel (not coming back), Juan Cruz, Brendan Donnelly, Brian Fuentes, Eric Gagne, Trevor Hoffman, Jason Isringhausen, Brandon Lyon, Guillermo Mota, Chan Ho Park, Julian Tavarez, Jamey Wright
Best of the bunch: Fuentes, Hoffman, Lyon

Shortstop: Orlando Cabrera, David Eckstein, Rafael Furcal, Cesar Izturis
Best of the bunch: Cabrera, Furcal (save us, Raffy!)

Left field: Garret Anderson, Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez, Juan Rivera
Best of the bunch: Burrell (in my wildest dreams this would happen), Dunn (more likely to happen), Ramirez (seeming more possible than a couple weeks ago)

So, it looks like ol' Ned will be working through Christmas vacation. Better pack a lunch, or two, or three.

And another question: who will wear No. 44 now?


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