With the corspe of Jim Tracy barely cold (or more likely, being flown to Pittsburgh), it didn’t take long for Kevin Kennedy’s name to make a subtle appearance in Tony Jackson’s LA Daily News column.

(Los Angeles general manager Paul) DePodesta’s first step toward redemption will be his first hiring of a manager, something that will take place sometime this month. The search doesn’t figure to take long, as DePodesta said Monday he has had a short list in mind since including an escape clause in the contract Tracy signed a year ago.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh general manager Dave Littlefield told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Tuesday that while he hasn’t yet contacted Tracy about the Pirates’ managerial vacancy, he did have a conversation with Tracy’s Houston-based agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks. Tracy is believed to be the leading candidate – and possibly the only real candidate.

But Tracy getting another job will only save DePodesta about $700,000 off next year’s expenditures. Given that at least one source with knowledge of the situation said the Dodgers’ player payroll probably will dip to the $80 million range next season – and given the fact DePodesta will be hamstrung by the unwieldy contracts he gave out last winter – the prospects for the Dodgers dramatically improving themselves between now and next spring are questionable, at best.

That is why Tracy was unwilling to manage the Dodgers next season without a contract extension. It also is why DePodesta might be as busy this offseason as he was last winter.

On the field, the needs are simple. The Dodgers need a power-hitting first baseman, a power-hitting third baseman, a power-hitting left fielder and a power-hitting right fielder. They won’t get all four. They would prefer at least three. But just getting two would be a marked improvement, and would afford more lineup flexibility to Glenn Hoffman, Art Howe, Kevin Kennedy or whoever gets tabbed to move into Tracy’s old office.