Friends, Angelenos and contrarians, lend me your ears; I come to bury the Dodgers, not praise them.

How can I do anything else? I mean, while the Evil Empire dispatches its emissary, Brian Cashman, to Arkansas to pitch woo to the belle of baseball’s free agent ball, Cliff Lee, and the Red Sox make noise about Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, and the Angels cast come-hither glances at Crawford and Adrian Beltre, and the Rangers try to trump the Evil Empire by reminding Lee that Yankees fans spit on his bride, there are no such sound bytes emanating from zip code L.A. 90090.

Which leads me to wonder if the deep-thinkers in the Blue Bunker at Chavez Ravine have been paying attention. Well, in case GM Nick Colletti and the boys missed it, the Giants won the pennant! The Giants won the pennant! Not only that, the Giants won the World Series!

Which, in turns, means the Dodgers must improve.

Now, I realize that the Dodgers’ payroll is less than Elin Nordegren’s divorce settlement, so I don’t expect Colletti to engage in a Cliff Lee bidding war with the Yankees or Rangers, both of whom have more money than half the G20 nations. You don’t go into battle against howitzers if you’re carrying a pea shooter.

I’m also well aware of the fact that Colletti’s ability to loosen the purse strings is hampered due to that nasty divorce thing between the two wannabe bankrolls, Frank McCourt and his ex, Jamie, who filed for divorce shortly after the Dodgers were ousted by the Phillies in the 2009 National League Championship Series (geez, talk about taking a loss hard).

A court has yet to rule which of baseball’s Bickering Blue Bloods is sole owner of the storied Major League franchise, so, as it stands, the Dodgers don’t know if they’ll be living with mommy or daddy and Colletti doesn’t know who to approach for an increase in his allowance.

Divorce and limited payroll ceiling aside, you still have to do something to convince the loyalists that you haven’t surrendered. And, I’m sorry, but re-signing pitchers Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda doesn’t grab my attention. The former is 34 years old, the latter 35. Is this re-loading for the 2011 baseball season or a farewell tour?

Quite frankly, the only Dodgers-related news of note since the boys sacked their bats last month came from the camp of old friend Kirk Gibson, who cleaned out his garage one day and decided to hold a yard sale of some tar-stained items. The tar-stained bat he used to swat his walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series fetched $575,912.40, while his tar-stained uniform top and tar-stained batting helmet from that romantic moment in L.A. baseball lore brought in $303,277.20 and $153,388.80, respectively.

In sum, Gibson collected $1.19 million for a handful of nick-nacks, and I’m thinking the cheque he received from Chad and Doug Dreier wasn’t tar-stained.

I’m also thinking that maybe it would be a nice gesture if the former Dodger were to donate that 1.19 mill to Colletti, so he could go out and buy himself a pinch-hitting utility infielder. But, since Gibson is now manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I suppose that’s out of the question.

But, hey, I’m grasping for straws here. All I want is one nugget of good news that tells me the Dodgers recognize they have to take it up a notch, and don’t talk to me about Don Mattingly. Nothing against Donnie Baseball, understand, but all you need to know about the Dodgers rookie manager is a comment from 23-year-old outfield prospect Trayvon Robinson, who can tell us just one thing about the former Yankees great.

“I remember seeing him on the Simpsons,” he said.


Read more MLB news on