Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dodgers close to inking Lilly to 3-year deal

The ever reliable Ken Rosenthal... (I'll wait while you stop laughing)... tweeted that the Dodgers are close to re-signing Ted Lilly to a 3-year contract. The Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez confirmed the deal (physical pending).

Well, this kind of throws a monkey into my off-season preview, which was set to kickoff next week.

Lilly was really good for the Dodgers after coming over from the Cubs at the trade deadline. The only thing he struggled with was giving up home runs. He gave up 13 in 76 2/3 innings, good for fourth-most on the Dodgers and his 1.53 HR/9 rate tied Carlos Monasterios for highest on the club.

But this move is awfully reminiscent of the Casey Blake re-signing two years ago. The Dodgers rushed to re-sign Blake and they're now paying the price. Lilly is in a different position, but I can't help but make that comparison.

When it comes down to it, I think I might rather have Hiroki Kuroda back over Lilly for roughly the same price -- speculation is $10 to $12 million annually.

Then again, I'm partial to Kuroda. He had the best season of his career in 2010 and will be 36 in February. Lilly will be 35 headed into the 2011 season and has less injury concerns than Kuroda.

I wasn't crazy about the Lilly acquisition at first, but the saving grace was the chance at collecting draft picks. Now, that doesn't seem likely.

Unless Frank McCourt strikes oil in Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers probably won't offer Kuroda arbitration.

Offering Lilly arbitration would have been a no-brainer to me. He's probably a little more attractive on the open market than Kuroda, meaning the Dodgers could have gotten two first-round picks (or one first and one second).

The first domino of the Dodger off-season is close to falling. But one has to wonder: How many more dominoes do the Dodgers have left?

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