Raise your hand if you’re giddy like a twelve-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert?! *Jeremy raises both hands* Don’t worry, I won’t throw my sports bra up on stage. Yet.
If you’re a Dodger fan you have to LOVE that the McCourt drama is finally over with the $2 billion sale of the franchise to Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten. There is money (lots and lots of money), an owner who cares about winning, and a Los Angeles legend that fans can identify with and rally around.
But what’s next? What are they going to do with this new project? These are the first five major moves I’d like to see magically (get it, get it??) appear:
1. Sign Clayton Kershaw long-term
The Dodgers already locked up the future of the offense with Matt Kemp‘s deal over the winter. But the Rangers are a living, breathing example of why you need great pitching to win it all. The absolute one hundred percent priority for the new Dodgers ownership is to make a pitch to Kershaw and his agent to lock him up over the next six or seven years. I know this is unprecedented for almost any player, let alone a pitcher, but I’d even suggest offering Kershaw a ten-year contract. He’s already established as a premiere pitcher at age 24 and has a Cy Young under his belt. Need I say more? This kind of talent is once-in-a-generation.
2. Lock up Andre Ethier
I know he’s had his injury problems, but we all know what Ethier is capable when he’s happy and healthy. Andre was arguably the most valuable hitter in baseball two years ago when every single hit seemed to result in a win for the Dodgers. I’m not talking an insane extension here. Maybe just three or four years at a sizable chunk of money that motivates Ethier to perform like years past. If Kemp and Ethier are hitting 3-4 for the next half decade in L.A., they will contend.
3. Don’t let Dee Gordon get to arbitration
Speaking of rare talents, how much of a score did the Dodgers get with Tom Gordon‘s son, Dee? I’m not exaggerating when I say he’s capable of stealing 100 bases in a season. On the base paths, he might be the closest thing to Rickey Henderson that the Dodgers will ever have. But he’s no slouch with the bat. Skinny little Dee won’t put many past 200 feet, but his ability to find holes in the infield knows no boundaries. Give me a leadoff-heart combo of Gordon, Kemp and Ethier for the next five years and I’ll feel like one very spoiled Dodger fan.
4. Sign Roy Oswalt at mid-season
This may seem like a stretch. And it is. Because Oswalt apparently wants to pitch for a team close to his home in Mississippi. But some reports have the Angels as being the most recent team pursuing his services for the stretch run. So why not the Los Angeles team representing the Senior Circuit? Both should be at least heavily involved in the playoff race, if not leading their respective divisions when the time comes for Oswalt to appear. And I don’t know about you, but I’m much more comfortable with Oswalt’s aging right arm than Chad Billingsley‘s inconsistency or Ted Lilly‘s 60 mile-per-hour fastball.
5. Make a play for Cole Hamels
Signing Ethier and Gordon long-term to form a very scary trio with Kemp is all fine and good. But this brings us back to my original point; you can’t win the World Series without quality pitching. Just ask the last two champions – St. Louis and (shudder…) San Francisco rode their exceptional pitching to world titles. Timely hitting was important in both instances, but they wouldn’t have even cracked the postseason without stellar performances from their rotations. That being said, Hamels is another elite lefty pitcher who will be on the market (barring any deal being made with the Phillies mid-season) after 2012. Pairing him with Clayton Kershaw would be devastating to the rest of the National League. Make it happen, Magic!
Let me know what you think! Comment below. Follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman if so inclined. Thanks for reading, and GO DODGERS! Happy, happy day!