Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dodger Update

I haven't written much about the Dodgers since Drew opted out. That's not because nothing has happened. The Dodgers have made a lot of deals in the last few weeks.

They re-signed Nomar to a two-year contract. This allows them more options in the infield. If Betemit stays at third and Nomar at first, James Loney will have more time to develop. Or, Nomar could move to third when they feel Loney is ready to move up.

They signed Juan Pierre to a large contract. Although he may not be worth the money, this gives the Dodgers stability in the outfield, especially with Drew's departure. They also signed Luis Gonzales to a one-year contract. I'm not a huge fan of him as a person, but they needed the boost in the outfield.

Randy Wolf, lefty starter, gave the Dodgers a hometown discount and moved over from the Phillies, as did his catcher, Mike Lieberthal. This allowed the Dodgers to cut loose Toby Hall, who was never happy here.

Takashi Saito was signed as closer again in a fair deal. He deserves it. Unfortunately, Eric Gagne turned down a deal to return for as much as $10M for the year, even after he promised the Dodgers a hometown discount, and he has gone to Texas. Eric was one of the reasons I started watching the Dodgers. He will be sorely missed, but it's doubtful he will ever return to form after three surgeries.

With the signing of Jason Schmidt, the Dodgers have the problem of too many starters. Jason will be the new #1 starter, with Lowe, Penny, Wolf, Billingsley, Kuo, Tomko and Hendrickson all vying for the remaining four spots in the rotation. Many people think that this gives the Dodgers the option to deal Penny, especially for another slugger. Penny was inconsistent in the second half of the season, as well as problematic in the clubhouse.

They did not resign Maddux. I'll always remember the fantastic games I watched him pitch at Dodger stadium, but he's getting old and can't give the Dodgers the innings they need from a starter.

I think after last year's post-season, the Dodger are a little paranoid about lefties. They have definitely loaded up on lefty pitchers. They also re-signed Joe Beimel, even after his disaster that may have cost the Dodgers a post-season win (or two) when he cut his hand drinking in a bar after curfew, then lied about it. Apparently he apologized to the team and all is forgiven.

This looks to be an absolutely fantastic team. The Dodgers' one weakness now is the lack of a true slugger. We may not be able to fix that until the season begins. But with plenty of starters to trade, they may be able to pull of a deal at some point.

Season ticket prices have gone up, in my section, 25%. Still, it's a lot cheaper than Red Sox tickets (or Angels tickets, for that matter). I'm looking forward to this season!
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