Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grading the Dodgers' off-season

I know the off-season isn't officially over yet, but the Dodgers have done about all they're going to do this winter, save for some non-roster invites and maybe another veteran signing -- Eric Chavez.

So I'm going to grade the Dodgers' off-season moves and give brief explanations of each. We'll go in chronological order.

Oct. 19: Ted Lilly re-signed for 3 years, $33 million.
Comment: At the time, it felt like a bit much. Three months later, it's still a bit much, but it was a decent deal.
Grade: C+

Nov. 15: Hiroki Kuroda re-signed for 1 year, $12 million
Comment: This was a great deal in terms of value and contract length. Kuroda could have gotten a 2- or 3-year deal on the open market, but his comfort level in L.A. seemed to be the determining factor.
Grade: A-

Nov. 26: Jon Garland signed for 1 year, $5 million with a club option for 2012 ($8 million)
Comment: This deal surprised many -- not only that a deal was made but the fact the Dodgers were getting Garland for $5 million. He must pitch 190 innings for his 2012 option to vest.
Grade: B

Nov. 30: Juan Uribe signed for 3 years, $21 million
Comment: This deal blew then and it still blows now. There is no way this player should have gotten this deal. By far the worst deal of the off-season.
Grade: F

Nov. 30: Ryan Theriot traded to St. Louis for Blake Hawksworth
Comment: Theriot was going to be non-tendered, so to get anything even potentially useful for him was a plus. Hawksworth could make the 'pen out of Spring Training.
Grade: B

Dec. 3: Declined arbitration to Russell Martin and re-signed Rod Barajas to a 1 year, $3.25 million contract
Comment: In hindsight, this might have been a mistake, considering the Dodgers spent $3.25 million on Barajas. Still, the Dodgers didn't want to risk paying an injured, regressing catcher in excess of $6 million. Barajas got $500,000 out of Spring Training last year, yet GM Ned Colletti felt it necessary to give him a $2.75 million raise.
Grade: B- and D-, respectively

Dec. 9: Vicente Padilla signed for 1 year, $2 million (plus incentives)
Comment: His contract can reach $8 million with 33 starts or as much as $6 million with certain relief bonuses. This, like the Garland signing, was a bit surprising.
Grade: B+

Dec. 11: Tony Gwynn signed for 1 year, $675,000
Comment: This was a decent signing at the time. Now, Gwynn will compete for an everyday job in the Dodgers' lineup.
Grade: B-

Dec. 14: Dioner Navarro signed for 1 year, $1 million
Comment: The Dodgers were desperate here. With Martin gone and Barajas not a full-time catcher, they panicked and, for some reason, gave Navarro $1 million to be the backup. Curious move, especially with A.J. Ellis making peanuts and could possibly out-produce Navarro.
Grade: D-

Dec. 16: Matt Guerrier signed for 3 years, $12 million
Comment: This makes almost less sense than the Uribe deal. The Dodgers weren't exactly hurting in middle relief, especially with Ronald Belisario's Venezuelan League performance. To give a mediocre reliever who doesn't strike many batters out a 3-year deal is a bad allocation of limited resources.
Grade: D

Dec. 27: Chin-lung Hu traded to the New York Mets for Mike Antonini
Comment: Hu could have been the second infielder off the bench for the Dodgers, but it appears the organization grew tired of him and was likely to non-tender him. Antonini is left-handed, which is about the best thing one can say about him.
Grade: C

Jan. 20: Marcus Thames signed for 1 year, $1 million (plus incentives)
Comment: This was one of the Dodgers' better off-season signings, despite Thames' horrific defense. His right-handed pop will be a welcome sight off the Dodger bench.
Grade: B+

The Dodgers also had a bunch of minor-league signings and non-roster invites (not counting prospects.

Juan Castro
J.D. Closser
Roman Colon
Dana Eveland
Jon Huber
Gabe Kapler
Trent Oeltjen
Tim Redding
Eugenio Velez
Oscar Villareal

I'd be surprised if any of these guys make the name out of Spring Training. The Dodgers usually find one or two NRIs to take into the season, but the 25-man roster is pretty full as it is, so that might not be the case this year. If I had to bet money on one guy making the team, it'd be Castro because of his ability to play shortstop -- even though he's the worst player on the list.

Overall grade: C (2.18 GPA)
- The Uribe, Guerrier and Barajas deals really bring down the GPA. And I think the GPA is about in line with what most think about the Dodgers' offseason: Average, but nothing special.

It's a shame, too, after starting off well with the shoring up of the starting rotation.

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