The Fall Classic is about to start, and once the Tigers hopefully take the 2012 crown the free agent market will begin to heat up. The Dodgers will be active this offseason in the free agent marketplace since the new ownership has said that they intent to collect talent via trade, minor league development, international scouting and development, and free agent signings. The Dodgers no longer have the albatross of Frank McCourt to hold them back from big free agent pickups, and the GBM has an almost bottomless checking account. That being said, the Dodger have already made a huge deal during the season with Boston which secured them a starting pitcher, first baseman, left fielder, and oh yeah a utility guy. The Dodgers actually have most of their positions filled for next season, but the starting pitching should definitely be a priority this winter.
Chad Billingsley‘s future is still uncertain, and we have yet to hear anything regarding his progress. When we do hear about Bills, we will pass on the news to you as soon as it comes in. Billingsley is trying to avoid having to undergo the Tommy John procedure for a torn elbow ligament. If Bills has to have his elbow repaired, he will miss the entirety of 2013.
Ted Lilly still has another year remaining on his three-year contract with the Dodgers ($12 million in 2013), but his extreme rustiness is certainly a concern.
Aaron Harang, Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, and Clayton Kershaw will all be back in 2013, but the fifth spot in the rotation will need to be secured. Beckett is signed through 2014 and owed $15,750,000 for each of his two remaining seasons. Cappy is signed through next season, and he has a $6 million mutual option for 2014. Aaron Harang has a similar deal, and he is signed through 2013 with a $7 million mutual option for 2014 with stipulations.
The Dodgers will most likely need to sign at least one starting pitcher, and perhaps even a second. You can never have enough starting pitching. The Dodgers’ lower ranks which include John Ely and Stephen Fife will be acceptable sixth or seventh type guys down in AAA.
Scott wrote a great piece about James Shields. I would be more than happy to sign Shields. The local boy would be a great fit for the Dodgers. Let’s take a look at some of the other possibilities amongst the free agents. I’ve highlighted my personal favorites below.
Here is a list of starting pitchers available via free agency for 2013 thanks to mlbtraderumors.com:
Scott Baker (31) – $9.25MM club option
Erik Bedard (34)
Joe Blanton (32)
Bartolo Colon (40)
Aaron Cook (34)
Kevin Correia (32)
Jorge De La Rosa (32) – $11MM player option with a $1MM buyout
Ryan Dempster (36)
R.A. Dickey (38) – $5MM club option with a $300K buyout
Scott Feldman (29) – $9.25MM club option with a $600K buyout
Jeff Francis (32)
Gavin Floyd (30) – $9.5MM club option
Freddy Garcia (37)
Zack Greinke (28)
Jeremy Guthrie (34)
Rich Harden (31)
Dan Haren (32) – $15.5MM club option with a $3.5MM buyout
Roberto Hernandez (32) – $6MM club option (Reduced from $9MM after contract was restructured)
Tim Hudson (37) – $9MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Edwin Jackson (29)
Hiroki Kuroda (38)
Francisco Liriano (29)
Kyle Lohse (34)
Derek Lowe (40)
Paul Maholm (31) – $6.5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Shaun Marcum (31)
Jason Marquis (34)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (32)
Brandon McCarthy (29)
Kevin Millwood (38)
Jamie Moyer (50)
Roy Oswalt (35)
Carl Pavano (37)
Jake Peavy (31) – $22MM club option with a $4MM buyout
Anibal Sanchez (29)
Jonathan Sanchez (30)
Ervin Santana (30) – $13MM club option with a $1MM buyout
Joe Saunders (32)
James Shields (31) – $9MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout
Carlos Villanueva (29)
Chien-Ming Wang (33)
Kip Wells (36)
Randy Wolf (36)
Chris Young (34)
Carlos Zambrano (32)
Zack Greinke, who just turned 29-years old yesterday, would be one of the youngest pitchers on the list as well as one of the most talented. The right-hander is coming off a 4-year $38 million deal, and would be a great number two guy behind Clayton Kershaw. He has a career record of 91-78 with a 3.77 ERA.
I would love to see Hiroki Kuroda back in Blue. I was so sad to see him in pinstripes this season. The 37-year old can still pitch, and he won 16 games with the Yankees this season while earning a 3.32 ERA. Hiro was 8th in the Majors in WAR and 6th in innings pitched (219 2/3). He pitched 3 complete games and 2 shutouts. McCourt may not have been able to afford to sign him last winter, but the GBM would have no problem signing him to a 1-year deal for around $10-12 million.
I’m a little irritated at Kyle Lohse at the moment for allowing the Giants to win Game 7 and take the pennant tonight, but the 34-year old righty did win 16 games this year with St. Louis while only losing 3, and his 2.86 ERA was the best of his career and 8th in the Majors this season.
He’s coming off a 4-year $41 million deal.
Anibal Sanchez is another young right-hander who would be great as a Dodger in my opinion. He split time between Miami and Detroit this season and finished with a 9-13 record and 3.86 ERA. We’ll be watching him pitch in the World Series, and let’s see how he fares against our western division foes.
The Dodgers have always been known for great pitching. It’s expected that they will go after at least one of the top pitchers in the free agent market. With a strengthened rotation and a wicked bullpen which includes Ronald Belisario, Kenley Jansen, and most likely Brandon League, the Dodgers’ pitching staff could be one of the best in baseball.
Who would you like to see the Dodgers sign? Share with us your picks in the comments.