Paging Ned Colletti and Stan Kasten, the Winter Meetings have officially entered their final day. Dodgers fans have been waiting all off-season for the Winter Meetings to take place as unlike a year ago, stable ownership is now in place with deep pockets, very deep pockets. Heading into Nashville, the list of high profile free agents and trade targets on the Dodger’s radar was extensive, and basically whoever the Dodgers wanted to sign was going to happen with money not being an issue.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti better charge his cell phone and work it overtime on the last day of baseball’s winter meetings Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
But despite all of the rumors and chatter the Dodgers have added exactly no one to their roster, unless you count Matt Magill and Stephen Ames being added to the Major League Roster. Obviously the biggest prize Dodgers fans want signed is Zack Greinke, the former Cy Young Award winner and the unquestioned top free agent pitcher. Multiple sources have the Dodgers and Rangers as the 2 teams left in the Greinke sweepstakes, and all indications are the Dodgers are the clear front runner, with the possibility of Greinke receiving the richest contract of any pitcher in baseball history. Colletti met with Greinke’s agent on Wednesday but according to Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
"Didn’t have “any idea” when a Greinke deal might occur."
Same goes for Korean lefty Ryu Hyun-jin, who the Dodgers spent $25.7 million dollars to have the exclusive rights to negotiate with. The Dodgers are in a position of strength as they are the only MLB club who can sign the 25 year old. However, the Dodgers haven’t had the best history working out deals with Hyun-jin’s agent Scott Boras. Boras has stated that:
"“We have standards that all of us agree the guy is a No. 3 starter in the Major Leagues, Boras said Wednesday. And past practices, negotiations that we’ve done for [Daisuke] Matsuzaka, at that time Matsuzaka got paid [$52 million, six years] like he was a No. 3 pitcher in the big leagues. We think very highly of Ryu.”"
The Dodgers have until Sunday to complete a deal with Ryu and worst case scenario is they can’t agree to terms and their $25.7 million is returned to them, which they could then use to sign another starting pitcher. Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reported that the Dodgers made Ryu a long-term offer on Tuesday that was “promptly rejected.” Boras said he made a counter offer to the Dodgers and that “negotiations continue.” Colletti said the Dodger’s offer “predictably fell a tad short.” So let me wrap my head around this, you just spent $25.7 million for the exclusive opportunity to sign the talented young lefty. Your offer is simply “a tad short,” I don’t know how many millions equal a “tad” but they’ve come this far in the process just get the deal done already. With the huge Korean community in L.A. Ryu could take on a “Fernando Mania” type role with the Dodgers if he is indeed a #3 caliber starter, to me that’s worth the “tad” that the two sides are apart.
Management has made it clear that the Dodgers plan on adding at least one, but more likely two starting pitchers, even though they have 6 starters under contract for 2013. But with Ted Lilly coming off of shoulder surgery, not to mention being 37 in January, with Chad Billingsley having a partially torn ligament in his elbow, and with Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang both being closer to 40 than 30 by the time the pennant race is in full swing, the need to bolster the starting pitching is more prevalent than ever.
Yet while other teams are throwing around silly amounts of money the Dodgers are kicking back in their suite in Nashville hopefully planning on closing the Winter Meetings with a bang. They already missed out on Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa, who reportedly signed a 2 year $9.5 million dollar deal with the Cubs. That contract looks like a bargain when you consider ex-Dodger Shane Victorino somehow got $39.5 million from the Red Sox for 3 years. I’m still shaking my head over that amount of money for a player who hit .255 last year and was very average as a Dodger. St. Louis gave Randy Choate, a one trick pony a.k.a lefty specialist, a 3 year deal worth a reported $7.5 million. To top it all off Joe Blanton just got $15 million for 2 years from the Angels, the same Joe Blanton who put up an ERA of 4.71 in 2012. Those are shocking numbers in my opinion and I am thrilled the Dodgers didn’t agree to any of them, with the exception of Fujikawa.
So while Dodger fans await the signing of Greinke, Ryu, or Anibal Sanchez, they can at least breath a sigh of relief that they haven’t overpaid for an under-performer, in that respect the Winter Meetings have been a success for the Dodgers. Now if they can finish it off by locking up Greinke and Ryu or perhaps making a trade for James Shields, R.A. Dickey, David Price or another #2 starter to compliment Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers fans can have something to be excited about.
One other piece of interesting news is the Diamondbacks efforts to deal Justin Upton. This is the 3rd straight off-season that Upton trade rumors are out there and why the D’Backs would want to deal Upton I have no idea. But I certainly would not be sad to see him leave the N.L. West. So as we enter the final day of the Winter Meetings one big question remains, what will the Dodgers do and when will they pull something off? Stay tuned to Lasorda’s Lair for any breaking news and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on facebook