According to Ken Rosencrap Furcal has chosen to sign with the Dodgers. If it is true (don't hold your breath- consider the source) it appears that Furcal chose the Dodgers because he would be able to play short. Whereas playing in Atlanta meants playing second base. Dollar numbers would likely be very similar at about 10 million a year for 3 years with a 4th option year.
If this is true the Dodgers just got better. They still need an effective starting pitcher. That might be had by using our own resources more effectively.
Dave Cameron, writer at ussmariner, suggests using Troncoso as a starter. His groundball rates are Derek Lowe'esque, and his strikeout rates are Jake Peavey'esque. What a mixture! Don't let his ERA fool you. He does have a great power sinker and if he could mix a good slider and an offspeed pitch in there he really might be poised for stardom. Again: Don't hold your breath. He will be a nice addition to the bullpenn in a long relief role/ spot stater role to go along with Scott Elbert and James McDonald.
Our best option in the free agent market right now is to sign Randy Johnson. He doesn't block anyone from coming up in 2010. He is still effective and he is a veteran precense... which is worth an extra 6.75 wins per season (according to Colletti-logic). I think if we were signing an outfielder I'd still want someone with some defensive abilities. That rules out all the current free agent outfielders...
So lets just stick with Jones in center, Ethier in left (his natural position) and Kemp in right (his natural position). By saving runs defensively the team can manage to win more games. Manny would help, but having Kemp and Ethier out of position the outfield defense is abysmal. Kemp is league average in center and Ethier is terrible in right. They both have great arms no matter what position they are playing but their range and effectiveness suffers when out of position.
The difference between a good offense and a great defense is a push. Except we save the money used on Manny for another day. Or even possibly a better starting pitcher. I know having Jones play full time is not everyone's ideal situation, well it's downright lunacy, but it is our best option.