According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Dodgers are targeting Hiroki Kuroda and Anibal Sanchez as their top two free agent pitching picks. Hiroki Kuroda has already received a $13.3 million qualifying offer from the Yankees which he will decide to accept or decline by tomorrow’s deadline. It has been reported that the Red Sox have interest in the 38-year old right-hander as well.
The Dodgers are also eyeing Anibal Sanchez. The Detroit Tiger pitched well in the postseason, and his asking price is rumored to be around $90 million and 6 years. Now, that financial commitment wouldn’t be a problem for the deep pockets of the GBM, but to me that sounds like a long and expensive deal for a starting pitcher. After all, the Dodgers will need to lock up Clayton Kershaw, the possible back-to-back Cy Young award recipient, to a long-term deal soon. The Dodgers could be better off signing Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal or even possibly a two-year deal if that is what he desires before returning to Japan to finish off his professional career with the Hiroshima Carp.
Sanchez has reportedly drawn interest from not only the Tigers and Dodgers, but also the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Rangers. Even if Sanchez can’t fetch a six-year contract, a five-year deal worth about $15 million per year with a possible option year is still lengthy. Sanchez, 28, is a bit younger than top billing free agent pitcher Zack Greinke. Sanchez finished the 2012 season with a 9-13 record and a 3.86 ERA in 31 starts between the Miami Marlins and the Detroit Tigers. He pitched in three postseason games and collected a 1-2 record and 1.77 ERA in those outings.
Comparatively Greinke finished the season with a 15-5 record and 3.48 ERA in 34 starts for the Milwaukee Brewers and the Angels. He struck out 200 batters in 212 1/3 innings pitched. Greinke is looking to capture a six-year $150 million deal. If he should be able to land that dollar amount, it would make Greinke the highest paid pitcher in all of Major League Baseball. Sanchez could possibly be got for half that amount. Even though the Dodgers could easily sign one of these high price tag pitchers, they have just taken on $260 million after the blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox. Maybe it would be a better decision to forgo Greinke, let the Angels overpay for him, and invest a little extra in rebuilding the farm system, international player development and scouting, signing Clayton Kershaw to a long-term deal, and adding some bench depth.
The Dodger ownership could very well sign Greinke to be the #2 starter behind Clayton Kershaw. After all, the Dodgers did try
to acquire Greinke before the July 31st trade deadline earlier this year. Yet I think since Kershaw will no longer need hip surgery this offseason, and Chad Billingsley‘s prognosis is still good, the Dodger may not need to spend a boat load of money on said #2 guy. Anibal Sanchez looks like a nice cheaper option.
What a difference a year makes. Last winter we were scrambling to sign two mediocre pitchers for the price of one Hiroki Kuroda. Now the Dodgers are able to compete with any other big market team for the top tier free agents. Or perhaps the Dodgers will forgo the lofty price tag of Greinke, and they will bring Hiroki back. Or maybe they get both. You can never have enough pitching.