An unfortunate bit of news to come out of this announcement is the Dodgers had zero interest in negotiating a long-term deal with Billingsley, according to his agent, Dave Stewart, and Ng.
It's unfortunate because Billingsley is the future of the rotation, along with Clayton Kershaw. People are too focused on his two poor postseason games to actually realize Billingsley is one of the best young pitchers in the National League. With the way he finished 2010, there's no reason to expect anything but a return to his 2008 form.
James Loney and Hong-Chih Kuo did not agree to contracts and both they and the Dodgers exchanged contract figures today.
Loney wants $5.25 million, the team offered $4.7 million.In the 10 years Ng has handled the Dodgers' arbitration cases, only two players have gone to a hearing -- Eric Gagne in 2004 and Joe Beimel in 2007 -- both of which the Dodgers won.
Kuo wants $3.075 million, the team offered $2.55 million.
Ng is one of the more feared negotiators in the business and unless Loney and Kuo agree to meet somewhere in the middle before their arbitration hearings (sometime between Feb. 1 and Feb. 18), they're likely going to earn the lesser of the two amounts.
I mean, Ng was able to win immediately after Gagne won the Cy Young award for his 2003 performance. Kuo is coming off an all-star appearance and Loney is coming off his worst season as a pro. Seems like cake for Ng.
So, look for Loney and Kuo to make somewhere in the area of $4.975 million and $2.8125 million, respectively.
Ng is one of the best assistant GMs in the game and it's a travesty she hasn't gotten a general managerial job yet, which is fortunate for the Dodgers. If/when the day comes a woman is a GM, it will be Ng.
The Dodgers also made official the signings of Marcus Thames and Gabe Kapler today.
The more I think about it, the more Tony Gwynn should start over Thames. I'd say give him 4-6 weeks to see what he can do. If by that time he isn't hitting nearly enough to warrant a starting position, the Dodgers can revert to the original plan of a platoon in left field.