With the free agency period looming for the Dodgers, as the free agency period will commence tomorrow Oct. 30th at 12:01 am. The Dodgers have a whopping ten free agents ready to hit the market, the large task of working to hand long-term extensions to Kemp, Kershaw, and Ethier, and let's not forget the "big bat" Colletti keeps talking about landing, Colletti certainly has his work cut out for him. There is a huge cloud of uncertainty following him everywhere he goes. Let's not forget that Colletti is entering what could be the final year as GM for the Dodgers, and with ownership battle looming, Colletti has to put together a winning team this season or he could be looking for a new job this time next year.
Hiroki Kuroda (SP), Jonathan Broxton (RP), Vicente Padilla (RP), Mike MacDougal (RP), Jon Garland (SP), Rod Barajas (C), Jamey Carroll (IF), Casey Blake (3B) , Juan Rivera (OF/1B), Aaron Miles (IF)
Ted Lilly, SP: $25.5MM through 2013
Chad Billingsley, SP: $35MM through 2014
Juan Uribe, IF: $16MM through 2013
Matt Guerrier, RP: $9.75MM through 2013
Matt Kemp, CF
Andre Ethier, RF
Clayton Kershaw, SP
James Loney, 1B: (non-tender candidate)
Hong-Chih Kuo, RP: (non-tender candidate)
Tony Gwynn Jr., OF: (non-tender candidate)
Priority one to me is still giving Kemp a long term deal. Kemp has said he won't talk about an extension once the 2012 season starts, which is his final season before hitting free agency. I'm estimating a seven-year $135MM-$140MM deal would make it happen. Should Colletti fail to lock up Kemp this winter, you can kiss the Bison goodbye. Losing Kemp would be a huge blow to the Dodgers in every business facet, so yes this is very dynamic situation to watch this winter. Then there are the extensions to Ethier and Kershaw which should be priority two and three.
Colletti has said he has a general idea of what the budget is he has to work with. He has said he has the ability to lock up Kemp, Ethier, and Kershaw this winter, and has also said on numerous occasions now that he fully intends to improve the Dodgers offense, and has implied on signing Albert Pujols
or Prince Fielder
. There are many things to consider before dismissing the above. There are many different angles from a business perspective that makes this very doable, marketing, ticket sales, all those things, much more than just payroll.
A non-tender decision is due on Loney on December 12th, and one more season at around $6.5MM is likely what Colletti is going to do whether or not Pujols or Fielder are signed. While I think it's time to move on from Loney even if that means giving the first base job to Jerry Sands
. Uribe is penciled in at third base and Dee Gordon at shortstop, leaving a large hole at second. I fully expect the Dodgers to go with an internal option like Sellers or DeJesus, and then add a veteran guy like Aaron Miles
to the bench. Tim Federowicz
and A.J. Ellis
should and will likely share time at catcher, bringing an end to Rod Barajas'
time in Los Angeles.
Rumors have already swirled that Kelly Johnson
and the Dodgers are looking to get hitched. If this is the idea of Colletti and his "big bat" again, much like with Uribe last winter, he alone can't fix the Dodgers' offensive woes, no matter what the rest of the lineup puts together. I am praying each and every day and so should you that the Dodgers' ownership situation becomes resolved by July at the very latest. Do not expect a whole lot this winter, be glad if one of our big three get a long-term deal, and if Pujols or Fielder get signed it will be a miracle. Expect the Dodgers' 2011-12 offseason to be overshadowed by my favoritest person ever, Frank McCourt. I suppose I can live through one last winter with his drama and stupid business decision making ways. I will just have to keep telling myself one last time.