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Before Dodgers' off-season plans unfold, first domino must fall

October 6, 2011 |  8:02 am

Fielder
Oh, oh, domino … I think it’s time for a change.

Ah, yes, but change where? So many decisions. So many that are interwoven.

Do the Dodgers tender James Loney? Try to bring back Juan Rivera? Tony Gwynn Jr.? Keep Jerry Sands?

It all has to start somewhere. And take a wild guess what has to be the first domino to fall?

Prince Fielder?

That’s right, kiddies, if you truly believe the Dodgers are going to make a run at Fielder or Albert Pujols, that piece needs to be in place before the Dodgers can make plans elsewhere. Which is just one more reason why you should doubt they’re seriously going after either one of the big first basemen.

The deadline to tender a contract offer to a player under team control -– such as Loney –- is Dec. 12. Does anyone really think Fielder will make a decision that soon? Did I mention his agent is Scott Boras?

If Fielder is on board, then the Dodgers can move on to deciding whether they really think Loney can play left field, bring back Rivera, give Sands a shot or go after someone else.

At a Dodger Stadium news conference Wednesday, General Manager Ned Colletti was again bemoaning the offense and the need to add a significant bat.

"If we can find somebody offensively that can help spread that lineup out –- that’s a need I think we have to get after," Colletti said.

Best guess: They make some kind of halfhearted run at Fielder (he reportedly turned down a six-year, $120-million offer from the Brewers more than a year ago, or before Carl Crawford signed a seven-year, $142-million deal), he doesn’t agree, Boras uses it as a starting point for every other team and the Dodgers tender Loney.

And then they can go on to whatever their designated Plan B is.

But first comes the rejection, or a truly stunning signing. And with the team in bankruptcy, it’s hard to imagine the court permitting the team to take on some additional $150 million in debt when it could soon be on the auction block.

For most everything else to come in play for next season, that first domino has to fall. And look out below.

MORE:

One former GM looks at Dodgers' options

Dodgers decline options on Jon Garland and Casey Blake

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Prince Fielder. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / U.S. Presswire.

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