This year’s Maytag repairman is … Gary Bennett

Dodgers just signed him to a one-year, $825,000 contract, which is $325,000 less than Mike Lieberthal made as last year’s backup catcher but still probably slightly above what Russell Martin will make as a third-year big leaguer — despite the fact Martin is an All-Star and probably will start at least 135 games. What a system. Anyway, just talked to Ned, and he said it was made clear to Bennett in the negotiating process that he won’t be playing much — although he’ll play more than Lieberthal did if the rest of the lineup is more productive. The fact it wasn’t productive last year is the reason Grady couldn’t sit Russ very often, because they had to have his bat in there.
I’m plagiarizing the following paragraph from myself, as I wrote it in the print edition one day last week. Cut-and-paste is a wonderful thing:

Bennett, a career backup who will turn 36 in April, batted .252 while catching 52 games for St. Louis this season, striking out just 16 times in 155 at-bats.

Frank talk from Frank

McCourt addressed the Mitchell report at the Kuroda press conference today. Nothing too forceful, but he didn’t shy away from airing his opinions.

By Tony Jackson
Staff Writer
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt on Sunday offered his first public comment on baseball’s Mitchell Report — other than a carefully worded written statement issued through the team’s public relations department last Thursday, when the report was officially released.
Among other things, McCourt called for the players’ union to allow drug testing to be written into individual players’ contracts by their clubs, something that isn’t permitted under the game’s current labor agreement.
“In 1984, the Dodgers were one of two organizations who went to baseball and requested that we be allowed to put testing into players’ contracts,” said McCourt, who bought the club in 2004. “Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to put those provisions in. My plea to the union, as well as to my fellow owners, is, let’s get it right.”
Not surprisingly, McCourt trumpeted the fact that no current Dodgers player was named in the report as a user of steroids or HGH — even though three high-profile former Dodgers, pitchers Kevin Brown and Eric Gagne and catcher Paul Lo Duca, were.
“I don’t think we should look at the Mitchell Report as being the last word, that only those players (named) should be held accountable and that every one of those players is bad,” McCourt said. “That isn’t fair. We need to look at it more as a general statement.”

Kuroda agrees to three-year contract

The deal is pending results of a physical examination, which Kuroda took this morning at Centinela Hospital, but it’s done and believed to be worth between $36 million to $40 millon. Club officials aren’t commenting for now, but two sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed the deal within the past half hour. Expecting more details later in the day, but this is a huge pickup for the Dodgers. Kuroda will fall somewhere in the middle of the rotation, probably the third or fourth spot. Ned Colletti now has filled two of the club’s biggest holes (a starting pitcher and a CF) without giving up ANY of the Dodgers’ young players.