Monday, October 26, 2009

Off-season preview, part I

I've decided to break down the off-season preview into four parts: Dodger free agents, arbitration-eligible young players, potential free agent targets and potential trade targets.

The Dodgers have 15 free agents, not counting Manny Ramirez, who is all but a lock to exercise his $20M player option for 2010.

Dodger Free Agents
Brad Ausmus
Ronnie Belliard
Juan Castro
Jon Garland ($10M mutual option, $2.5M buyout if team declines, $1M if player declines)
Orlando Hudson (Type A)
Mark Loretta
Doug Mientkiewicz
Eric Milton
Guillermo Mota
Will Ohman
Vicente Padilla ($12M club option, $1.75M buyout)
Jason Schmidt
Jim Thome
Jeff Weaver
Randy Wolf (Type A)

Hudson: Many have said Hudson will not be back, especially after his benching toward the end of the regular season and in the playoffs. If it comes to be, his signing will have been well worth it. He hit for the Dodgers' first cycle since 1970 and played Gold Glove-caliber defense at second base -- something the Dodgers haven't had since 2004. The Dodgers need to offer him arbitration. The worst thing that can happen is he accepts and the Dodgers are "stuck" with a great team player for another season. Arbitration: Yes

Wolf: Randy is an interesting topic. He had a career-year in 2009, and the Dodgers needed every bit of it. He is likely to command a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal on the open market. The Dodgers should be in the hunt to re-sign him, but don't be surprised if he cashes in on his fantastic 2009. Arbitration: Yes

Garland/Padilla: First of all, neither of these guys will have their options exercised. However, the Dodgers could look to bring back one or both of these guys on the cheap. The Dodgers need an ace, but these guys aren't aces. They're decent back-of-the-rotation guys. Perhaps there is only a need for one. Arbitration: No

Belliard: Belliard was a late-season spark off the bench and, eventually, as a starter. However, if the Dodgers think he'll perform nearly as well as he did with the Dodgers in a full-time role, they are sadly mistaken. The Dodgers should bring him back as a utility/part-time guy, though. Arbitration: No

As for the rest, no other player will be offered arbitration. And if I'm the Dodgers, the only guys I consider bringing back are Doug Mientkiewicz and Jeff Weaver. Doug didn't play as much as expected, due to injury, and Weaver was a pleasant surprise as a spot-starter/long reliever.

Next up:
Arbitration-eligible young players

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