Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ryan Theriot a Dodger no more, traded to Cardinals

The Dodgers traded infielder Ryan Theriot to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-handed pitcher Blake Hawksworth.

Unlike yesterday's horrific news, this is actually good news. Theriot was not going to return after the signing of Juan Uribe, but many thought he'd be non-tendered.

The Dodgers acquired Hawksworth, 27, who had a really good rookie year for the Cardinals in 2009 (40 innings, 2.03 ERA, 1.10 WHIP). However, his 2010 was not nearly as good. He is a long reliever-type, as he appeared in 45 games last season (eight starts), totaling 90 1/3 innings. A positive sign in Hawksworth's 2010 numbers is he increased his K/9 rate to 6.1 (up from 4.5 in 2009). He was a starter for all but four games in the minors, so he has the stamina to be the Dodgers' long reliever.

Another encouraging sign is Hawksworth had a 3.25 ERA and 1.32 WHIP (a tad high) as a reliever, so he fared much better in that respect.

Hawksworth is making the near the Major League minimum, so the Dodgers (assuming no money is changing hands) will not take on much in terms of payroll. Hawksworth is also out of options, per Eric Stephen of True Blue LA.

Theriot's less-than-spectacular run as a Dodger is thankfully over. He hit .242/.323.283 in his 228 Los Angeles Dodger plate appearances. While he had a nice walk rate, he provided virtually nothing else offensively (42 singles out of 48 hits). Theriot's defense is solid, but not for what he would have made in arbitration -- as much as $4-5 million.

This is not a blockbuster trade by any means, but the Dodgers did well to at least get a potentially serviceable piece for a guy who was going to be off the team come Thursday anyway.

What does this mean for Carlos Monasterios? Potentially nothing. Monasterios was slotted in the long reliever/swingman role for the Dodgers. Then again, it couldn't hurt to have two guys who could start on short notice or throw extended innings if a member of the Dodgers' rotation has a bad outing.

I still wish Juan Uribe wasn't a Dodger, though.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dodgers sign Juan Uribe, Baby Jesus weeps

In a not-so-surprising move, after yesterday's rumor, the Dodgers have indeed signed the free-swinging Juan Uribe to a 3-year, $21 million contract.

That's right, three years and $7 million a year for a guy with a career .300 on-base percentage.

Just when you think Ned Colletti couldn't out do himself, he drops this gem on everyone.

There goes $7 million the Dodgers could have used to acquire a real hitter -- someone who would make an impact on the lineup -- not a utility infielder with a career .731 OPS.

This is just laughable.

Any optimism Dodger fans had after Colletti was able to shore up the rotation with the re-signings of Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and the addition of Jon Garland are gone. This could very well go down as Colletti's worst free agent signing. And yes, I am taking into account the Juan Pierre debacle.

The Giants picked this guy up two years ago after a bad season with the White Sox (.247/.296/.386) and put together a nice 2009 season (.289/.329/.495). His 2010 was not so great, despite a career-high in home runs (24) and RBI (85).

Uribe, 31, has a solid glove, but not solid enough to justify $7 million a year and giving a supplemental first-round pick to the Giants.

Side note: You see, Ned, this is what happens when you offer arbitration to Type-B free agents. The signing team doesn't have to give up a draft pick, but the player's former employer gets a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. It's too bad you're too incompetent to offer arbitration to the likes of Scott Podsednik (who would have certainly declined) and Rod Barajas, the latter of whom you tried to sign during the exclusive negotiating period.

But I digress.

I hope you, the reader and Dodger fan, weren't hoping for a big-name bat because Colletti likely blew a lot of his remaining budget on Uribe.

The only good news to come from this is Ryan Theriot is quite likely to get non-tendered.

This reeks of the Casey Blake deal two-plus years ago -- except for the fact that Casey Blake is actually a solid baseball player. Uribe is not, and this deal will not work out well for the Dodgers.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dodgers 'eyeing' Juan Uribe... for some reason

Ken Gurnick of dodgers.com said the Dodgers are interested in Juan Uribe.

Oh boy.

All that damn clutchiness Uribe displayed in the playoffs really piqued Ned Colletti's interest. Earlier in the off-season, a tweet by Enrique Rojas of ESPN said the Dodgers were looking at Edgar Renteria for their second base opening.

I said in my last post I wanted to see the Dodgers involved in rumors for a bat, but I was thinking more along the lines of Adam Dunn, Adrian Beltre or a player via trade -- not some washed-up, free-swinging middle infielders.

I also have to take exception with this comment from the article:

"The addition of Uribe not only would weaken San Francisco but provide the Dodgers with a needed veteran power bat for the middle of the lineup."

OK, the first part of the statement is true. Uribe is a versatile player and would hurt the Giants' depth. However, the second part couldn't be more off-base. Middle of the lineup? Are you kidding me? Uribe would bat sixth at very best with the current Dodgers' lineup.

In his off-season plan post on Mike Scocia's Tragic Illness, Mike said he would sign Uribe for one year, $5 million and a club option for 2012.

"Uribe's not perfect. But for $4-5m, would you rather a low-OBP guy with zero power and decent defense, or a low-OBP guy with good power and plus defense? Now, it's possible I'm short-changing the contract Uribe would get here, but he was horrendous in 2007 and '08, to the point where he had to take a minor-league deal before 2009."

The "low-OBP guy with zero power and decent defense" is Ryan Theriot. These are valid points. At the time this was written (Oct. 11), Uribe had yet to "clutch up" in the playoffs. Now, Uribe's market value has increased and no longer makes sense for the Dodgers -- especially a multiyear deal.

I know the Dodgers aren't going to land a Carl Crawford or Adrian Gonzalez, but they have to be able to do better than Uribe. The money it would take to sign Uribe could be used to acquire Dunn, Beltre or someone else while letting Ivan De Jesus have a shot at second base.

Uribe's versatility is enticing, but his .300 OBP and free-swinging ways are not. The Dodgers need to invest their resources better this off-season. The rotation is shored up and Colletti did a good job there. He still thinks the Dodgers need a reliever, even though the Dodgers' current contingent could do just fine. However, other than these washed-up players, the Dodgers have not been involved in any rumors for a big bat. I know big bats don't grow on trees, but it'd be nice to hear the Dodgers connected to an impact power hitter.

Just say no to Uribe and Retneria.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dodgers reach agreement with Jon Garland

Dylan Hernandez tweeted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have reached an agreement with Jon Garland.

The length and terms of the deal are not known at this time.

Update: Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the deal is for one year with a vesting option, and the option is contingent on Garland reaching a high number of innings pitched.

Update (1:04 p.m.): Hernandez said Garland's option vests with 190 innings pitched.

Update (1:07 p.m.): Jon Heyman said Garland's base salary for 2011 is $5 million plus high performance bonuses. Update (1:16 p.m.): Garland's 2012 option is for $8 million.

Garland pitched with the San Diego Padres in 2010 and had a solid season. He went 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA and 1.31 WHIP -- both career-bests. He benefited from playing in Petco Park, as he posted a 3.00 ERA at home (4.01 on the road).

Garland last pitched with the Dodgers in late 2009, when L.A. picked him up from Arizona in a post-non-waiver trade deadline deal.

Garland was solid with the Dodgers, posting a 2.72 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 36 1/3 innings.

He will obviously slot in as the No. 5 starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda.

Whether or not this is a good deal depends on the length and money involved. Garland reportedly was looking for a multi-year deal. Garland was a Type-B free agent, so the Dodgers will not have to surrender their second-round pick. However, the Padres will be awarded a supplemental first-round pick.

If this is a reasonable deal (length/money), it's probably going to be a solid deal. Garland isn't going to blow anyone away, but the Dodgers -- and a lot of teams -- could do a lot worse for a No. 5 starter.

I'll update this when the length and terms are announced.

Update: This deal appears to be good for the Dodgers. To get Garland for one year plus a vesting option is almost a steal. The terms are still unknown.

The signing allows the Dodgers to focus on the offense. The rotation is set and I still think the Dodgers don't need much help in the bullpen (though, Ned Colletti seems to think otherwise).

This signing also isn't going to push the Dodgers' budget to its brink, so an upgrade in left field, at second base or third base is still in play.

It'd be nice to hear the Dodgers have rumored interest in a hitter, as that is the weakest part of the team right now. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dodgers decline to offer arbitration to free agents

The Dodgers declined to offer arbitration to OF Scott Podsednik, C Rod Barajas and RHP Vicente Padilla tonight.


While Padilla was unlikely to get an offer, Podsednik and Barajas should have been offered arbitration without hesitation.

There is absolutely no reason for the Dodgers to not have done this. It just blows my mind and is a microcosm of the horrible McCourt/Colletti reign over the Dodgers.

Podsednik made about $1.75 million this past season. Moreover, the Dodgers picked their half of his option earlier this season. They would have been willing to give him $2 million. He could have made slightly more in arbitration, but not enough to scare the Dodgers.

Barajas made $500,000. He wasn't going to break the bank in arbitration, yet the Dodgers were -- for some reason -- scared of him accepting arbitration.

This is just frustrating.

It just doesn't make sense. I could at least somewhat understand last year when they didn't offer arbitration to Randy Wolf or Orlando Hudson (even though it was the wrong move). Those guys were coming off multi-million-dollar deals. Podsednik and Barajas made a little more than $2 million... combined.

The Dodgers talk of raising payroll, yet they won't offer arbitration to guys making minimal money for a chance to bolster the farm system? This must be some kind of joke.

Jesus Christ. I can't wait to hear the "official" explanation on this one.

The Dodgers also signed LHP Dana Eveland and RHP Oscar Villareal to minor league deals and invited them to spring training.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Former Dodger prospect turned stud QB in Big 12

First off, I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I just wanted to do a quick blurb about this topic.

I turned on the TV this morning and saw a quarterback by the name of Brandon Weeden playing for Oklahoma State University. I wondered, "Is that the former baseball player? No, it couldn't be. He'd be in his late 20s by now."

I thought I had heard his name a week or two ago but thought it was just coincidence.

After searching Google, it is indeed the same Brandon Weeden.

You'll recall Weeden was one of the prospects the Dodgers acquired from the New York Yankees in the Kevin Brown-for-Jeff Weaver trade. He wasn't exactly an A+ prospect, but some had hopes for him.

Obviously, his baseball career did not go according to plan.

Weeden was drafted in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft by the Yankees out of Edmon Santa Fe High School in Oklahoma. His first two seasons were successful, as he posted a 2.70 ERA and 1.24 WHIP as an 18- and 19-year-old in the low minors.

In his two-year Dodger career, he did not fare as well. He had a 5.52 ERA and 1.67 WHIP at Columbus of the South Atlantic League. He caught on with the Royals in 2006, posting a 6.03 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in High-A.

That was the end of his baseball career.

He enrolled at Oklahoma State and saw his first game action in 2008, completing one pass for eight yards. He got a little more action last year, going 15-for-24, 248 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.

His junior year, 2010, has been different.

He is leading the nation in passing with more than 3,700 yards and has 30 touchdowns. His No. 10 Cowboys are 6-1 in conference, which leads the Big 12 South Division, and 10-1 overall.

From my short observation, he looks like he has all the tools. He obviously has the arm strength and has a big body -- 6-feet-4, 224 pounds. He has poise in the pocket and has made some really good throws in my short time watching him today.

It's nice to see a kid who didn't succeed at baseball go back to school and take up a completely different sport -- and do so well.

Weeden isn't going to be the first quarterback draft if he declares for the draft this year or next, but he could be a capable backup. He obviously draws comparisons to former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, who was 29 years old in his rookie season. Weinke was a third-round pick, but he was also the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner.

So hope is not all lost for Weeden's NFL Draft potential. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What could have been: Cory Wade

When the Dodgers drafted Cory Wade in the 10th round of the 2004 draft, it didn't exactly make headlines.

But six years later, it looked like the Dodgers had struck gold. Unfortunately, that was short-lived.

Wade signed a Minor League deal on Wednesday, thus ending his short -- but memorable (for good and bad reasons) -- tenure with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers first tried Wade out of the bullpen after being drafted. He put up a 3.66 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in his debut. The next two seasons, the Dodgers used him primarily as a starter (started 33 of 58 games), but despite having a starter's arsenal, the experiment did not go well.

His fastball was always fringe-average -- sitting in the upper 80s and touching 90-91 occasionally. His curveball and changeup where his money pitches. His curveball was one of the best I've seen from a Dodger right-hander in a long time. When he was on with his changeup, it was unhittable.

In 2007, he struck out 100 batters in 99 innings between High-A and Double-A, which gave the Dodgers a reason top hope for a decent bullpen arm.

Come 2008, the Dodgers needed an arm in the pen and Wade got the call. He pitched in a lot of crucial games out of Joe Torre's bullpen, posting a 2.27 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 55 games. But there in lies the problem: It was Torre's bullpen, the manager who had built a reputation on working one or two guys in the 'pen to the brink of breakdown (see Proctor, Scott).

By the time the postseason rolled around, the 25-year-old Wade had the third-most innings pitched (71 1/3) of any Dodger reliever, behind Chan Ho Park (95 1/3) and Hong-Chih Kuo (80).

Wade was fine in the National League Divisional Series against the Cubs, as he pitched in all three games (three hits, one run, three strikeouts). Then came the National League Championship Series against the Phillies.

Wade was cruising in the series, as he threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings through the first three games. When Game 4 rolled around and he was called upon to face Pat Burrell after Kuo gave up a single to Ryan Howard (retired Rollins-Utley-Werth in the seventh inning). Burrell popped out to second for the first out. Then Shane Victorino hit a curveball that almost hit the ground into the Phillies' bullpen to tie the game. Wade retired Pedro Feliz and gave up a single to Ruiz.

That was the end of his night and effectively his Dodger career.

Wade never recovered from that blow. It could have been mental, it could have been physical -- we'll never know. But ever since Victorino hit that home run, Wade hasn't been the same.

He threw 27 2/3 innings in 2009 before suffering an injury and being demoted. He just wasn't the same pitcher.

It's a shame to see what happened to Wade. A once promising bullpen arm is now nothing more than an afterthought in the world of Minor League free agents.

The Rays have a solid reputation of pitchers who were thought to be done resurrecting their careers in Tampa. I the trend continues with Wade.

He was one of my favorite pitchers in his brief time as a Los Angeles Dodger. If not for the injuries and breakdown, Wade could still be in the Dodger 'pen as we speak.

Then again, maybe his 2008 performance was a fluke. I'm inclined to believe he wasn't that good, but he was a solid pitcher.

When I hear the Dodgers are looking for a reliever and see some of the trades Ned Colletti has made over the past couple of years to "strengthen" the bullpen, I just think to myself, "What could have been..."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recent Dodger updates: Kuroda, Loney, Renteria, Dotel trade

The Dodgers officially re-signed Hiroki Kuroda on Monday to a 1-year, $12 million deal. The deal includes a base salary of $8 million in 2011 and $2 million deferred in both 2012 and 2013.

As previously stated, this is a fantastic move. The Dodgers' No. 1 through No. 4 is good enough to hang with any 1 through 4 in baseball.

Deferring $4 million allows the Dodgers to have some payroll flexibility this off-season.

Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts wrote a nice piece on the Dodgers and deferred payments.


Some folks are saying James Loney is the player the Dodgers are most likely to part with on the trade market.

I'm a Loney fan. Despite his poor ending to the 2010 season, I think he still has real value on this team. His glove is great and has saved the Dodger infield many errors in his time at first base.

Instead of jettisoning him, the Dodgers should look to upgrade power at another position such as left field, third base or second base.

Dan Uggla is beginning to make a lot more sense. Ken Rosenthal tweeted the Braves were talking to the Marlins about a deal involving Uggla and inexplicably 2010 all-star Omar Infante and left-handed pitcher Mike Dunn.

If that's all it could take to get Uggla, the Dodgers need to be on the phone to Miami STAT. The Dodgers would have no problem topping that package, as I outlined in my trade targets post a 11 days ago.

In retrospect, that might even be too much to give up for the offensive-minded second baseman.

It might not matter, as the Braves appear primed to acquire Uggla, says Braves' beat writer for MLB.com.

It'll be interesting to see what the actually deal is. Short of the Braves trading Freddie Freeman or Julio Teheran, the Dodgers could likely top any deal the Braves propose.

Update: Well, apparently the deal was just finalized and it is Infante and Dunn for Uggla. What an absolute steal for the Braves. Sigh.


ESPN's Enrique Rojas tweeted saying the Dodgers would be interested in Edgar Renteria for their second base opening.

My initial response: "Jesus no."

Seriously. What good is a washed-up veteran who has played exactly zero games at the position. His postseason clutchiness might be too much for Ned Colletti to pass up, which is sad and maddening for Dodger fans.


The Dodgers chose 26-year-old Double-A outfielder Anthony Jackson as the player to be named later in the Octavio Dotel trade.

Now, I wasn't expecting much in return for Dotel. But Ned Colletti, by trading Dotel to Colorado in September, must have said to himself, "How can I make this deal even worse?"

Well Ned, you found a way. And a 26-year-old Double-A outfielder isn't going to make up for the loss of James McDonald and Andrew Lambo.

As I said in my post about it in September, I don't mind trading guys like McDonald or Lambo, but the return needs to be at least somewhat good.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dodgers, Kuroda close to 1-year, $12 million deal

In a surprise development, the Dodgers are close to re-signing RHP Hiroki Kuroda to a 1-year, $12 million deal.

The news first came down last night when there were reports it was $8 million for one year. That would have been too good to be true. Apparently it was.

Still, to nab Kuroda, who had a 2.87 second-half ERA and his best season in the majors in 2010, this is still a damn good deal for the Dodgers.

It was widely believed Kuroda would either pitch in Los Angeles (slight chance for another West Coast team) or return to Japan. I'm glad to (almost) have him back in Blue.

The Dodgers' rotation is shaping up quite nicely, with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly locked in as the No. 1-3.

Despite this throwing a monkey wrench into my off-season prediction, this is a good move for the Dodgers. Now they won't be hard-pressed to find another starting pitcher who could cost them resources they need to upgrade the offense (I'm looking at you left field).

This is an encouraging and positive step for the Dodgers. Here's hoping it keeps up.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My 2010-11 Los Angeles Dodgers off-season plan

I tried to stay within the realm of possibility, so despite my earlier posts wanting guys like Beltre and Werth, you won't find any big-name free agents or trade acquisitions here. Let me know what you think!

Russell Martin
George Sherrill
Ryan Theriot

Scott Podsednik (with the hope he declines)

Free Agents
J.J. Hardy - 2 years, $6M (3rd year club option at $4 million with $0.5M buyout)
Ted Lilly - 3 years, $33M
- 2011: $7 million ($0.5M signing bonus); 2012: $11.5M ($1.5M signing bonus); 2013: $12M ($1.5M signing bonus)
Vicente Padilla - 1 year, $4M ($2M in incentives)
- Incentives: performance bonuses: $0.25M each for 150, 160 IP; $0.3M for 170 IP; $0.35M for 180 IP; $0.5M for 190 IP; $0.6M for 200 IP

Analysis: No big splash here, as expected. Hopefully there will be in 2011.

To TB: 1B/OF Jerry Sands, RHP Chris Withrow, OF Kyle Russell
To LA: RHP Matt Garza, OF B.J. Upton

To KC: OF Brian Cavazos-Galvez,
OF Xavier Paul, RHP Nathan Eovaldi
To LA: 3B/OF Alex Gordon

Analysis: I'm sure many would disagree with dealing Sands, Dodgers' best power prospect. My hope is by next off-season, the Dodgers will have new ownership and the ability to sign either Albert Pujols or Adrian Gonzalez to fill the void at first base. Of course, James Loney could just have a career season and put all that worry to rest, but I'm not holding my breath. This trade might be a little out of the realm of possibility, but not completely impossible.

Gordon, who has seemingly fallen out of favor in Kansas City, gives the Dodgers an option other than Casey Blake at 3B.


Lineup (8)
Furcal SS
Upton CF
Ethier LF
Kemp RF
Loney 1B
Hardy 2B
Gordon 3B
Ellis C

Analysis: This lineup isn't going to scare anyone, but the outfield defense should be much improved. A few "ifs" in the lineup (Upton, Hardy, Gordon), but the talent is there for success.

Rotation (5)

Analysis: The only thing that would make this rotation better (aside from Zack Greinke) is if Kuroda was back instead of Padilla.

Bullpen (7)

Analysis: If Broxton bounces back, a Jansen-Kuo-Broxton back end of the bullpen will be the best in baseball. Elbert needs to sink or swim as a left-handed reliever in this 'pen.

Bench (5)
Barajas C
Gibbons OF/1B
Hoffmann OF
Carroll IF
Blake 3B/1B/OF

Analysis: Solid bench, especially with Gibbons and Blake as part-time/platoon players.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2010-2011 Free agent predictions

While I'm putting together my Los Angeles Dodgers' off-season plan (which should be up tomorrow), I thought I'd chime in and predict where some of the top free agents will land.

While Brandon Webb won't make the following list, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post tweeted that the Dodgers could be interested in Webb. While Webb is nowhere near the pitcher he once was, it'd be a nice risk. The Dodgers wouldn't have to offer a lot in base salary and could attract Webb with incentives. Plus, he'd stay in the pitcher-friendly National League West. Low risk, high reward.

I'm using Keith Law's top 10 free agents.

1. Cliff Lee, SEA-TEX
Prediction: Texas - 6 years, $120 million
- While I will now forever hate Lee for choking against the Giants, the Rangers cannot afford to lose him. He is the main reason they made it to the World Series.
2. Carl Crawford, TB
Prediction: Anaheim - 6 years, $108 million
- The Angels need offense and Crawford is one of the best all-around outfielders in baseball. He had a career-high in nearly every offensive category (runs, HR, RBI, SLG, OPS, OPS+) and is primed to continue it as he's in the middle of his prime.
3. Jayson Werth, PHI
Prediction: Boston - 4 years, $68 million
- While it'd be nice to see Werth in Dodger Blue, they won't be able to afford him. The Red Sox are in desperate need of a right-handed-hitting outfielder, and Werth fits the bill.
4. Adrian Beltre, BOS
Prediction: Boston - 4 years, $50 million
- Another guy who'd look good in Blue, Beltre looked rejuvenated in 2010. He has the pop and great defense to be worth the contract he's going to receive. The Red Sox would be foolish to let him get away.
5. Victor Martinez, BOS
Prediction: Seattle - 4 years, $42 million
- Martinez is one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. But the question is, how long will he remain behind the dish? It's unknown, but the ability to play first base helps Martinez's cause a bit. The Red Sox will go with a cheaper option behind the plate, which benefits the Mariners.
6. Adam Dunn, WAS
Prediction: Chicago White Sox - 3 years, $30 million
- Dunn is one of the most powerful hitters in baseball. There are many teams that could use his power -- including the Dodgers. However, a team that was after Dunn at the deadline -- the White Sox -- will finally land their man.
7. Carl Pavano, MIN
Prediction: Minnesota - 3 years, $27 million
- Pavano had a bounce-back season in 2010 and is primed to cash in on it. If he's smart, he'd take a little less to stay in Minnesota, where he had great success.
8. Jorge De La Rosa, COL
Prediction: Colorado - 1 year, $8 million
- De La Rosa had a slightly better 2009 than 2010, but he's still a talented lefty who throws hard and strikes hitters out. Guys who fit that profile aren't exactly growing on trees. His Type-A free agent status could play a roll in his landing spot -- teams might not be willing to give up a first-round pick for a guy with durability issues. He'll end up back in Colorado.
9. Andy Pettitte, NYY
Prediction: New York Yankees - 1 year, $8 million
- I'm not really sure why Pettitte is on this list, as he's either going back to New York or retiring, which has been the case the last two years.
10. Jake Westbrook, CLE-STL
Prediction: St. Louis - 3 years, $24 million
- Westbrook seems like the perfect fit in St. Louis and I'd be shocked if he isn't in Cardinal Red for the next couple of seasons.

I'm adding two more players who were inexplicably excluded from the list.

11. Paul Konerko, CWS
Prediction: Anaheim - 3 years, $39 million
- It's easy to say Konerko would return to Chicago, but if a team offers him enough money, I'm sure he'd consider leaving -- especially if that team played in Southern California (not the Dodgers, unfortunately). The Angels are going balls-out to improve their offense.
12. Rafael Soriano, TB
Prediction: Arizona - 3 years, $33 million
- Soriano is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. It's unfortunate the Rays will not be able to afford him, but he is going to cash in on his fantastic 2010 season. Many have mocked him to Anaheim, but in my predictions, the Angels are already spending $31 million on two players, so they might not be able to give Soriano what he's looking for. The D-Backs had one of the worst bullpens in recent memory and are willing to throw lots of money at the situation.

Friday, November 5, 2010

2010 Los Angeles Dodger off-season preview, part V

This concludes my five-part off-season preview for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I have chosen four players who are on the trade block and what I think it would take/what I would give up to get them.

These trades aren't intended to deplete the underrated Dodger farm system; just a look at what it might take. The Dodgers could come away with none of these guys, and I think getting more than one is idealistic.


RHP Zack Greinke, KC

2010: 10-14, 4.17 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.4 K/9
- Greinke was the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner after going 16-8 with a minuscule 2.16 ERA and 1.07 WHIP -- both of which lead the AL.

He took a step back in 2010, but still had a somewhat decent season: 10-14, 4.17 ERA, 1.24 WHIP. This is either a trend or just a bad season. I'm inclined to go with the latter.

It's been said Greinke doesn't want to pitch in a big media market due to his previous bout with social anxiety disorder and depression. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted, saying people close to Greinke don't think he'd accept a trade to New York. While Los Angeles is a big market, the media isn't anywhere near as harsh as it is in New York, Boston or Chicago. That's a plus in the Dodgers' column.

One stumbling block is Greinke can block trades to 15 teams due to a clause in his contract. It is unknown which teams are on the list. If the Dodgers are on the list, it doesn't mean a trade is impossible -- Greinke would just have to approve it first.

What would it take to get him?

To Kansas City: SS Dee Gordon, OF/1B Jerry Sands, RHP Ethan Martin, OF Kyle Russell
To Los Angeles: RHP Zack Greinke

Why it works for Kansas City: The Royals nab their shortstop of the future in Gordon, a power-hitting 1B/OF/DH in Sands, a right-hander who still has a lot of potential in Martin and a powerful outfielder in Russell. The Royals have one of the best farm systems in baseball and this trade would only make it better. Plus, the Royals save $27 million, as Greinke is due $13.5 million in 2011 and 2012.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers land a potential ace to team up with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. Greinke would flourish in the friend confines of Dodger Stadium and aside from a few columnist (jokes), he wouldn't feel much heat from the media. Giving up Gordon and Sands is a high price to pay, but if the Dodgers really want Greinke, they'd have to do it.

RHP Matt Garza, TB
15-10, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.6 K/9
- The Rays are looking to trim payroll. Garza is eligible for arbitration and Tampa has a glut of young pitching. Garza is a big-game pitcher and would slot in nicely as the Dodgers' No. 4 starter.

I proposed a trade in my pessimistic Matt Kemp trade post a few weeks ago.

To Tampa Bay: Matt Kemp, Kyle Russell
To Los Angeles: B.J. Upton, Matt Garza

I'm feeling a little better about Kemp remaining a Dodger, but anything can happen.

When Garza was acquired by Tampa for Delmon Young, some people scratched their heads. Three years later, despite Young's solid 2010, the Rays won this deal. Now they could be looking to turn Garza into another win on the trade market.

What would it take to get him?

To Tampa Bay: OF Brian Cavazos-Galvez, 2B Ivan De Jesus, RHP Ethan Martin
To L.A.: RHP Matt Garza

Why it works for TB: The Rays grab three prospects while shedding themselves of Garza's potential $5 million salary for guys who will make league-minimum money. They get a potential impact prospect in Martin, a powerful outfielder in Cavazos-Galvez and a Major League-ready infielder in De Jesus.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers give up solid prospects, including one who was ranked in everyone's top 10 coming into 2010 for a solid No. 3 or 4 starter who is under team control for another two seasons.

1B Adrian Gonzalez, SD
.298/.393/.511, 31 HR, 101 RBI
- Gonzalez is one of the best first basemen in baseball and perennially underrated. The Dodgers had discussion with San Diego before the 2009 trade deadline, but nothing came to fruition.

Gonzalez is a free agent after the 2010 season and there is already talk Padres' General Manager Jed Hoyer will listen to offers for the first baseman (and closer Heath Bell). Plus, he's bound to get a huge deal on the open market, making it likely the Padres cannot afford him. They could be looking to trade him sooner, rather than later.

Gonzalez makes $5.5 million this season and could make three- to four times that on the open market next winter. The Red Sox have been hot for Gonzalez for quite some time. The Dodgers have to compete with them and their overrated farm system. Also, the Padres aren't as likely to deal him within the NL West if there are other options.

What would it take to get him?

To San Diego: 1B James Loney, SS Dee Gordon, RHP Chris Withrow, RHP Josh Lindblom or LHP Scott Elbert
To L.A.: 1B Adrian Gonzalez

Why it works for SD: The Padres get a replacement for Gonzlaez (Loney), their shortstop of the future in Gordon, a right-hander who came into the 2010 season as a top-three Dodger prospect and a close-to-the-majors bullpen arm in either Lindblom or Elbert.

Why it works for L.A.: While it would suck to lose Gordon, getting an impact, middle-of-the-order bat is something that should entice the Dodgers. With Gonzalez not being signed long-term, the Dodgers might not have to give up as much for the slugger.

2B Dan Uggla, FLA
.287/.369/.508, 33 HR, 105 RBI
- Did you know "Uggla" means "owl" in Swedish? Uggla is coming off his best season as a big leaguer in 2010. He's entering his final year of arbitration and the Marlins are always looking to trim salary. While he isn't much with the glove, his bat speaks for itself.

Since debuting in 2006, Uggla has done nothing but OPS .805 or higher every season. He showed some encouraging signs this season, too. His batting average increased 44 points to .287 (career-high) and his on-base percentage increased 15 points to .369 (also a career-high). His walk rate decreased a little in 2010, but he still had a career high in OPS (.877) and OPS+ (130).

What would it take to get him?

To Florida: OF Trayvon Robinson, 2B Ivan De Jesus, RHP Josh Lindblom
To L.A.: 2B Dan Uggla

Why it works for Florida: The Marlins trim salary, as Uggla could make as much as $11- or $12 million in arbitration. They also get a Major League-ready replacement in De Jesus, a potential impact and top-of-the-order center fielder in Robinson and an arm ready for the 'pen in Lindblom.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers get a powerful bat at an unexpected position. With the Dodgers lacking power at certain positions (LF, 3B, 1B), a 2B with pop is quite intriguing. He may have stone hands, but he can't be much worse than Jeff Kent at 2B, right? I would really hate to lose Robinson, but if it means landing Uggla, it might be worth it.


Of all the players analyzed above, I'd say the Dodgers have the best chance of landing Uggla, despite his high price tag. The next three in order of likeliness: Garza, Greinke and Gonzalez (lots of "G's").

The Dodgers are going to have to get creative in the trade market, as free agency probably isn't going to land much in terms of impact players. If the Dodgers can somehow, some way come out with, say, Garza and Uggla (without giving up too much), it could be a successful off-season.

I'm sure there will be some "lesser" trade targets, which is where the creative element comes in. I think back to 2004 when Paul DePodesta acquired Jayson Werth before the season for Jason Frasor. I'm hoping the Dodgers can do something like that. Then again, this is Ned Colletti, not DePodesta, so I wouldn't hold my breath.

I'll post my complete off-season plan in the next few days.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dodgers re-sign Gibbons, Podsednik opts for free agency

The Dodgers have re-signed OF/1B Jay Gibbons to a 1-year deal, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Terms of the deal were announced at $400,000 plus incentives. Update: Hernandez tweeted with new contract details -- $650,000 base, $150,000 incentives based on plate appearances.

This is a great re-signing for the Dodgers. Gibbons, after not playing in the majors in 2008 and 2009, Gibbons came up in August (far too late, by the way) to put up a respectable .280/.313/.507 line as a part-time player. And that's all he's being brought back to do. He'll spell whoever plays left field and James Loney (if he sticks around) at 1B. He's a solid lefty off the bench.

The re-signing doesn't bode particularly well for Xavier Paul's chances of sticking in L.A., as he's out of options and is also a lefty. We'll see if anything happens on that front.


Updating a previous item, Scott Podsednik has declined his half of his mutual option, again per Hernandez. It was expected. Now, the Dodgers must offer him arbitration. He only made $1.65 million this year, so he won't earn much more in an arbitration case -- if he accepts it. He is a Type-B free agent, so the Dodgers would get a supplemental first-round pick if he declines arbitration and signs elsewhere. Most sane Dodger fans are hoping for this option.

Worst case scenario: Podsednik is back as a serviceable fourth outfielder (we hope) at a cheap rate (again, we hope).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dodgers pickup half of Podsednik's option

The Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez tweeted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have exercised their half of Scott Podsednik's 2011 option. Since it is a mutual option, Podsednik can either exercise his half and return to the Dodgers for $2 million or decline and test free agency, where he could get a more lucrative deal (and potential two years) on the open market.

He has 48 hours to make a decision.

If Podsednik comes back at $2 million, that's actually a really good deal... if he's coming back as a fourth outfielder. If the Dodgers expect him to play 150 games in left field and bat leadoff or second, then it's a mistake.

If he declines, he'd be a free agent. As a Type-B free agent, the Dodgers would be foolish not to offer him arbitration. Potentially netting a supplemental first-round pick for Podsednik looks awfully good right now.

Here's what I said about Podsednik in part one of my off-season preview:
"Podsednik: When he came over from the Royals at the deadline, I thought it was a decent pickup. The fact that he is a Type B free agent made the deal a lot more acceptable. He didn't play much of the last month as he was injured. In spite of that, I would not be opposed to him coming back as a fourth outfielder. My fear is the Dodgers will give him 600 PAs as the regular left fielder, which would be a mistake. If he voids his option or the Dodgers buy him out, they can always offer him arbitration. A team are less likely to hesitate to sign him because he is a Type B free agent. If he comes back, he's a solid fourth outfielder -- if the Dodgers use him in that manner. Arbitration: Yes, without a doubt"
It's potentially win-win for the Dodgers, provided he comes back as a fourth outfielder. We'll see what happens.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Worst nightmare to come to life?

My worst nightmare might come to life in a matter of hours. Hell, every true Dodgers' fan worst nightmare is about to come to life.

Never did I think the San Francisco Giants would win the World Series. Even in 2002, it just didn't seem possible. But here they sit -- 27 outs away from being crowned champions.

...Excuse me, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

How does a team with absolutely no offense score 11 -- including seven off Cliff Lee -- in Game 1 and proceed to dominate two of the next three games? It just doesn't seem right.

Then again, the Rangers aren't exactly a model of dominant baseball. Their hitters have been neutralized all series by elite Giant pitching.

So here I sit, just a few hours from a potential Giant World Series championship, and I couldn't be more upset off about it.

And if it happens, this lovely graphic will be no more:

For shame.