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Time to get out the crying towel for Frank McCourt?

October 17, 2010 | 10:01 am

Now for that moment you’ve been waiting for: sympathy for Frank McCourt.

That’s right, open up those arms of compassion, because right now even if he wanted to do the right thing -- if for the wrong reasons -- there’s precious little chance he could pull it off.

I’ll begin by making a humongous leap -- that McCourt realizes his standing and credibility in the Los Angeles area has taken a ridiculous hit. I call it a leap, because I remain unconvinced that he’s aware of how low he has fallen in community esteem.

Yet if you assume that McCourt recognizes a need to re-establish his ownership pedigree, what better way to do it than by bringing in a star player. By dropping some cash. To add a real name above the marquee, to create some positive buzz.

Trouble is, there’s just about nothing out there. It shapes up as a remarkably thin free-agent period.

There are only two genuine big names scheduled to become free agents at the end of the season: left-hander Cliff Lee and outfielder Carl Crawford.

Chances of the Dodgers signing either? I’d put it at less than 5%.

On the surface, either would be a terrific fit. Lee is a dominant starter and one of the best pitchers in baseball and Crawford a top outfielder. And the Dodgers could use an ace and a left fielder.

Yet either figures to cost so much that it’s highly doubtful McCourt could find the necessary moola.

Lee is apparently looking at CC Sabathia money. Sabathia got seven years and $161 million from the Yankees. Seven years for any pitcher is a risky number, but particularly one who’s 31 years old.

And if you factor in that McCourt can’t even nudge an infomercial dude or a bank to float him another $25 mil, you have to figure his number leaves him out of the Dodgers' reach. Though not, perhaps, out of the Angels'.

Then there is Crawford, a highly intriguing case. He is 29, has stolen 45 or more bases in seven of his last eight seasons, this year drove in 90 runs and plays left field.

There’s no doubt he would be a valuable addition to the Dodgers’ -- or anyone else’s -- lineup. Still, he is not the perfect fit because he doesn’t bring that one element the Dodgers are in dire need of:  power. With James Loney and Casey Blake on the corners, they need an outfielder with some pop.

Crawford has never hit 20 home runs in a season. He’s been a top-of-the-order hitter, though if the Dodgers could actually sign him, he’d probably be more of a No. 3 hitter.

But do the Dodgers really want to commit a $100-million salary to someone who can bring them little home run power? Doubtful, even if McCourt could somehow figure out a way to fund the deal.

It would make great, positive news, however. Something McCourt is in desperate need of. Something that could reignite faith that he really is more motivated to win now than in accumilating more personal worth.

Something, that even if he wanted to do it, seems as remote a possibility as Jessicas Biel and Alba getting in a cat fight over the Dodgers Blogger.

Poor Frank McCourt. Even if he wanted to do the right thing, his options are almost nil.

-- Steve Dilbeck

For the record: An earlier version of this post said Cliff Lee is a right-handed pitcher. He is left-handed.

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