Dodgers Face Tough Choices as Arbitration Deadline Approaches


Tomorrow at 6 PM Pacific Time, is the deadline for MLB teams to offer salary arbitration to the players who are eligible. The Dodgers have five players up for arbitration, and they will face some tough decisions on a couple of those players. Tomorrow we will learn the collective fates of the following Dodgers who are eligible. Those five Dodgers are: Kershaw, Ethier, Loney, Kuo, and Tony Gwynn Jr.

Obviously Kershaw is being offered arbitration, as this is the first of his three team controlled arbitration years. Kershaw, who made 500,000 dollars last year, is in line for one of the hugest raises in MLB arbitration case history. Of coarse winning the NL Cy Young award will help. As a reward for Kershaw’s complete and total dominati0n of all opponents in 2011, reports say he should receive something in the neighborhood of 8 million dollars for 2012, and he deserves every cent of it. The next up is Andre Ethier. Dre is another no-brainer. The Dodgers will likely be offering him salary arbitration.

Last year Ethier made 9.5 milli0n dollars, and will likely be in line for a raise as well. Some will say that Ethier had a bad year and can’t play defense, and blah blah blah……baloney. His lack of power in 2011 was directly correlated to his knee injury which he had fixed via surgery this year. Still Ethier managed to hit .292 with a high OBP (.368), grabbed a Gold Glove, and had a 30 game hitting streak. Some will say Ethier deserves a raise, and some will say no depending on who you talk too. Doesn’t matter, he still is being tendered a contract come tomorrow.

Similar situation with James Loney. He will be getting offered arbitration as well despite this new story that broke of his car accident and being detained by the police. Loney batted .288 with 12 home runs and 65 RBI despite getting off to a terrible start to the season. We had all but given up on poor Loney at one point. However, after Loney’s phoenix from the ashes resurrection, catching fire the last two months of the season, (thanks to an improved swing) we all expect for him to be tendered a contract at tomorrow’s deadline. Last year Loney made 4.8 million dollars.

There are two more players eligible for arbitration, but there situations aren’t as obvious or clear cut as Kershaw, Ethier, and Loney.

Tony Gwynn Jr. who made 675,000 dollars last year as a fourth outfielder for the Dodgers played pretty well. We are expecting the Dodgers to tender him a contract, but it’s not certain. Gwynn batted .256 with two home runs, 22 RBIs, and 22 stolen bases. This also included not one, but two flying game saving catches.

The last case is for Hong-Chih Kuo. This one is a tough one. Kuo who made 2.73 million dollars last year was coming off a magnificent year in 2010 where he was nearly unhittable, and he was tied for the record for lowest ERA by a Dodger pitcher since Gagne. 2011 was a different story for Kuo. He struggled with a sore back and an anxiety disorder, spending time on the disabled list. Kuo only showed glimpses of his former self, and many people feel the Dodgers will not tender him a contract. Kuo is the longest tenured Dodger. His first year with the Dodgers was 2005. If this is indeed the last we see of Kuo, we will surely miss his trademark stare. In 2011 Kuo was 1-2 with an ERA of 9.00 in 40 games. Definitely not Kuo type numbers. Is this the end of the line for Kuo?

Tomorrow we will learn the fates of five Dodgers who are eligible for arbitration. Who do you think the Dodgers will tender contracts to tomorrow? Stick around to find out.