The Dodgers, believe it or not, could be in the market for a starting pitcher this off-season. It depends on two things: whether Hiroki Kuroda re-signs and if they don't want to rely on Nathan Eovaldi to be the team's fifth starter. With Rubby De La Rosa likely out for the majority of the season, a veteran could be brought in to keep Eovaldi's innings down -- if he even wins the job out of Spring Training.
They could also be interested in a bullpen arm -- so says Ned Colletti. The only bullpen arm (barring any trades) the Dodgers should even consider going after is another lefty. With Hong-Chih Kuo unlikely to return (mental, elbow), Scott Elbert is the Dodgers' only left-handed reliever.
Who the Dodgers have under contract: Chad Billingsley, John Ely, Nathan Eovaldi, Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lilly
Available free agents
The list is a bit longer than one might expect a team with three (potentially four) solid starters on board.
Bedard: Could come cheap option after having a decent 2011 season. He didn't throw at all in 2010 and was considered to be one of the best left-handed starters a few years ago.
Darvish: This one is more for show, as the Yankees or Red Sox will probably pay unreasonable amounts of money for the Japanese talent.
Harang: He was a guy I looked at last year. He signed with the Padres last year and had a solid 2011 campaign. I'm actually surprised they decline his $5 million option.
Jackson: He has some of the best stuff in the game, yet he struggles to get a lot of strikeouts. Now, he doesn't have to strike out nine per nine innings to be successful, but it's still curious as to why he doesn't get more. He does have that "veteran goodness" Colletti loves... and he's a World Champion.
Maholm: He's on this list because he was in Matt Kemp's corner for NL MVP and because the Dodgers were interested in him a couple years ago. If nothing else, he could eat some innings at the back of the rotation.
Oswalt: Once an elite pitcher, Oswalt is now firmly entrenched as a No. 3 starter on most clubs. His high price tag and Type-A free agent status makes a Dodger signing unlikely.
Wilson: Much like Oswalt, Wilson will command a high salary and first-round draft pick compensation. He's probably worth it, but not to a team with pressing needs on offense.
Who the Dodgers have under contract: Steve Ames (minors), Elbert, Javy Guerra, Matt Guerrier, Blake Hawksworth, Kenley Jansen, Josh Lindblom, Shawn Tolleson (minors)
Available free agents
Aardsma: Had pretty good success in Seattle, but didn't pitch in 2011 due to injury. Could be a nice buy-low candidate.
Grabow: Hasn't been anywhere near as good with the Cubs as he was with the Pirates, but he's probably the most realistic LHP signing for the Dodgers.
Gonzalez: Always had great stuff, but is a little wild. Still, would be a nice addition to the 'pen.
Qualls: Not sure why, but I've always liked Qualls. He bounced back from a miserable 2010 to have a solid 2011 season. Could be a solid pickup at a cheap price.
Wuertz: He was an emerging setup man a few years ago, but has regressed mightily. The A's chose not to bring him back and other teams could be looking to take a risk on him. He'd be the only guy of this group I'd seriously consider signing.
What to do?
I'd definitely take a flier on Wuertz if the price is right. Also, Grabow would be a nice addition to take some pressure off Elbert.
The Dodgers need offense a lot more than they need another pitcher. I'm hoping Kuroda wants to re-sign, otherwise, the Dodgers are going to have to allocate additional resources to finding another starter. The Dodgers' bullpen is solid, but they could use another lefty.
Up next: Potential trade targets