Pick Your Poison, A Sad Fan's Guide To The Dodgers Off-Season
Many people have railed against the off-season signings Ned Colletti has made for the Dodgers. Colletti was quick to fill out most of his roster this off-season. And in doing so made a few questionable signings. None of the signings as a single entity really hurt the Dodgers chances, but in aggregate they have possibly kept the Dodgers from making the big splash they need to compete for a playoff chance in the next two years.
Instead of signing the likes of Mark Ellis, Juan Rivera, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Adam Kennedy and Tony Gwynn Jr., the Dodgers could've used in house replacements making close to league minimum like Jerry Sands (LF), Justin Sellers (2B) and Nathan Eovaldi (P) plus probably few other replacement level players or NRIs. The savings many argued would allow the Dodgers to bid on such high profiled sluggers like 1B free agent Prince Fielder and maybe there'd be enough left over to sign Kuroda for a one year $13M deal (or along those lines).
Sure, the short-term money may come close to adding up - but all you are really doing is giving yourself a shot at making a bid for a player like Fielder. There is no gaurantee that you would win the bidding for him. And no gaurantee that he'd even want to come to play for the Dodgers. If he didn't there would be a mad scramble to put together the pieces of a team that would have some reasonable depth like the team currently assembled does. Depth is an important and often overlooked part of a team. The Dodgers as currently constructed have depth, perhaps not assembled in the most financially efficient way - but they have depth.
The Dodgers really have three possible big fish they can land. Two in-house and one in the free agent market. That being Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw and Prince Fielder. In my opinion there is NO WAY the Dodgers are signing all three to big long-term deals. And there is really no way you can plan for a Prince Fielder short-term deal. Thus if I had to take my choice of two out of three of these players signing long-term with us it has to be Kemp and Kershaw. Kemp has already signed and now Kershaw is headed to arbitration a few months after winning the 2011 Cy Young award. There is a possibility that the Dodgers and Kershaw will use this process to ink out a long-term contract with Kershaw buying out his remaining three years of arbitration and a few of his first free agency years.
Which scenario would you rather have?
Scenario A: Sellers starting 2B, Fielder signed to 8 year deal, Loney traded for scraps, Sands/Gwynn platoon in LF, Kuroda ($13M), Eovaldi 5th starter. With neither Kemp nor Kershaw signed to long term deals.
Scenario B: What has happened so far with Kershaw extended for 6 years at some fair but pretty high amount.
Yes, there are probably other scenarios but none much different than the two above in terms of landfall off-seasons for the Dodgers. And in the end I am not defending all of Colletti's moves, but there has been nothing done this off-season to harm the Dodgers long-term (2+ years) chances of competing. And lastly, one other thing to keep in mind is that the Dodgers are up for sale (finally!!!). McCourt wants to maximize the price he can get for the Dodgers. And in doing so he appears to be making an attempt to limit the risk of the Dodgers ability to compete in the win column in the long-term - thus all the short term non bargain contracts. In other words... be patient and cross your fingers that the new ownership puts people in place that more than half-way know what they are doing.