Following the Dodgers and Exploring The Team’s Past
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News from the Dodgers has been quiet since their last move with re-signing Furcal last week.
Some good news: Power free agent Mark Teixeira will stay out of the Dodger’s National League for at least eight years. The Yankees have now nabbed two of the top three free agents, Teixeira and CC Sabathia. That leaves Manny sitting alone on the fence. Though the Angels lost Teixeira to the Bronx Bombers, they reportedly will still not pursue Manny.
The Angels also lost their closer, K-Rod, to New York when he signed with the Mets. There have been rumors that Derek Lowe will join him, but no official reports from either team.
Some other good news: Hiroki Kuroda will reportedly be skipping playing for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic, which will give him more time to rehab and recover from tendinitis in his right shoulder.
The WBC begins in the first week of March, right at the beginning of Spring Training. Though this will likely mean an absence of a few players from each team, the Dodgers have the honor of hosting the final round at the end of March at Dodger Stadium.
After talks with the Atlanta Braves went nowhere, Rafael Furcal accepted a three-year, $30-million dollar deal with an option for 2012.
The Dodgers now have the infield set, with Furcal the finishing piece at short with Casey Blake at third, DeWitt and Loretta at second, and James Loney at first. With no new updates on Manny, the Dodgers will likely go after a veteran starter to add to the rotation.
Mark Loretta passed his physical to complete a deal to give him one year, $1.25 million deal. Loretta will be the main utility infielder, particularly at shortstop with the expected retirement of Nomar.
With the utility shortstop set, the Dodgers have still to set an everyday shortstop. The two-year deal with a third year option based on performance is still on the table for Rafael Furcal, but he reportedly wants at least a four-year deal from the Dodgers.
The Dodgers also forwent a contract for Takashi Saito, who became a free agent on Friday. The Dodgers also made free agency of Scott Proctor, Angel Berroa, Yhency Brazoban, and Mario Alvarez. Free agency still leaves the Dodgers as an option for 2009 for all of them. All it does is take away arbitration, which could keep Saito at a $2.5 million deal that the Dodgers wanted to cap when Saito wanted $3.5 million.
One of the big three FA’s, CC, is off the table with a seven-year deal with the Yankees. That leaves Teixeira and Manny as the most sought-after free agents, and Ned Colletti is reportedly willing to wait out a deal with Manny.
Halfway through the Winter Meetings in Vegas, the Dodgers have already made a few moves.
Casey Blake accepted a three-year, $17.5 million dollar deal with an option for 2012.
With Loney and Blake secured on the corners, and Blake DeWitt expected to be the starting second baseman, the Dodgers are still in need of a shortstop. Free agent Furcal has narrowed down his options to Oakland, Toronto, KC, and the Dodgers. The Dodgers are also reportedly close to a one-year deal with Mark Loretta, who would likely be a utility infielder while sharing the second base position with DeWitt.
Even after the Yankees and Brewers have offered deals to CC Sabathia, he is still keeping the Dodgers as an option. Colletti will likely not jump on a CC offer until the shortstop hole is filled. CC likes that the Dodgers are an NL team near his southern California home, but the Dodgers could probably not top the Yankees six-year deal.
The biggest question is the decision of Manny Ramirez. The Dodgers offered him, as well as Derek Lowe and Casey Blake arbitration. All three are unlikely to take the Dodgers up on this, but the move was made to ensure at least one first round draft pick and a sandwich pick in the 2009 Draft. The Dodgers will have to compete with the Twins for Blake, who offered him a two-year, $6 million deal.
The Dodgers also passed up arbitration on Rafael Furcal, which likely means they will be in pursuit of a new shortstop. They have offered a minor-league contract to veteran Juan Castro, which would likely make him the back-up shortstop for the club if he accepts.
The #1 need, though, is starting pitching. With Maddux expected to announce his retirement on Monday, and Lowe likely passing up his arbitration, the Dodgers have some spots in their rotation to fill. They will also likely not follow through on the 2009 option for Brad Penny. This would leave the ace position to Chad Billingsley, but his expectations for 2009 remain a question after undergoing surgery for a broken leg two weeks ago. The Dodgers may propose a one or two year offer to a veteran starter, with names like Randy Johnson and Andy Pettitte popping up. But just a few days ago Torre reported that the Dodgers would not pursue Pettitte after he declined the Yankees one-year deal.
Full list of Dodger FA’s: Lowe, Blake, Penny, Maddux, Manny, Blake, Furcal, Joe Beimel, Chan Ho Park, Nomar, Jeff Kent, Mark Sweeney, Gary Bennett, Jason Johnson, Pablo Ozuna.
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