Dec 11, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Zack Greinke (left) poses with Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson at press conference to announce Greinke as free agent pitcher at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Looking Ahead

I love speculating! I suppose at this moment in time, the only 2 sure things that we have in the rotation in 2014 are Greinke and Kershaw. I will also suppose that Kershaw will soon get a multi-year hundred million dollar contract soon.FACT: At the end of the 2012 season, Chad Billinglsey suffered a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. And by now, supposedly, he has fully healed and has hit 94 on the gun.

FACT: Josh Beckett spent the entire 2012 season averaging 91.4 on his fastball. Almost 2 MPH below his average speed from 2011 and 3 MPH off of his average MPH on the gun from his hay days as an ace with the Marlins and Red Sox. Going 95 to 91 is a big jump for a pitcher. One that is usually explained by an injury.

FACT: Hyun-Jin Ryu has experienced success in the KBO over the last 7 years pitching over 1200 innings. None of those innings can guarantee success at the Major League level.

Lets assume the worst case scenario here, because I am a pessimist. That Billinglsey makes 25-30 starts next year, but struggles through most of the season. That Beckett also struggles through most of the season and hits the 15 day DL twice. That Ryu begins the season as a starter, but finishes the season as a dominant reliever and enters 2014 as a reliever / swing starter…

It’s extremely unlikely that all 3 of these assumptions come to fruition. However, if any of them happen at all, we have an opening in the rotation next year… well, for me, its fun to hypothesize what could happen.
First, the free agents of 2014: Chris Carpenter (39), Josh Johnson (30), Matt Garza (30), and Adam Wainwright (32). (I like Wainwright.)

Oct 18, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) waits for a sign during game four of the 2012 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Then, the trade candidates: Roy Haladay, Jon Lester, Johan Santana, and James Shields have vesting or club options for 2014. David Price, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels are under contract.
Who knows whats in store for the Dodgers of 2014?… Who knows whats in store for the Dodgers of 2013?!? The off-season isn’t even done yet and the plethora of moves that can still happen are legitimately still on the table. I’m all in favor of improving the talent on the field.

Down the road: Sometime during the 2013 season, trading for David Price might be a legitimate option. Then I’d like to see them sign Adam Wainwright in the 2014 offseason. That gives us 4 aces! For all I care the 5th starter could be Ryu, Beckett, or Bills. This all of a sudden turned into a video game atmosphere. I guess that happened the day Magic Johnson took over partial ownership of the team with GBM. And here I am, reaping all the benefits! I’ve long asked the question, and it bears repeating: when will all this spending end?

Sep 30, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 season isn’t even upon us yet, and the year should be pretty exciting. We all have high hopes for the team and certainly expect them to not only make the playoffs, but advance far into them with a world series victory in sight. But money comes off the books in 2014 and 2015. While 2013 WILL be exciting, we should see more of the same in 2014 and 2015!

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I’m surprised at the hatred directed toward Chad Billingsley and the love devoted to Andre Ethier. Over the last 3 years, Bills has been the more valuable Dodger. Ethier has been the more popular. If there are legitimate options to improve either player, I’m all for it. I like both players equally, but both players have flaws in their game, neither flaw is as crippling as Juan Uribe or Jason Schmidt, but improvements can be made and it would be refreshing to see Ned Colletti do something bold, but not stupid. The chances of that happening are less than 25%.

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