As the baseball playoffs continue, it becomes apparent how important pitching is and how important it is to have that “Ace” on the staff. In the NL playoffs it is Roy Halladay, who is certainly the Phillies Ace and Tim Lincecum who is is the Giants ace. In the AL, the surviving teams are the Yanks with C.C. and the Rangers with Cliff Lee. It’s interesting to see that of the remaining teams, each team’s Ace is a former Cy Young Award Winner. I guess that emphasizes how important pitching is.
I think that in 2011, Clayton Kershaw will again take more steps forward in becoming the Dodgers Ace. In fact, it can be argued that he is already in the same class as the other four. I happen to think he is close. Which brings us to the big question as to who the Dodgers should get to fill holes in their rotation? I think that you have to look at it this way: A winning team has to have three pitchers who are at or near the top of their profession. The Dodgers had three this year with Kershaw, Billingsley and Kuroda. As it stands, right now they have two in Kershaw and Billingsley, followed by many question-marks.
Hiroki Kuroda might be willing to return with a one-year deal and while I would probably do that, we have to realize that he will command around $12 mil for that year and will be 36 next season. He has an injury history, but has been a solid #2 or #3 starter in his Dodger Tenure. Ted Lilly would be acceptable as a number 4 or 5 starter at say 3 years/$21 million, but I think he will ask for more and in arbitration, he could easily get $10 to $12 mil for 2011. My question is: do you want to tie up that much with a flyball pitcher who won’t be a starter in the playoffs? I think not! I would offer him arbitration and pray he didn’t accept it (I don’t think he will). I think Kuroda almost certainly would accept arbitration, so the Dodgers will have to decide if they think it’s wise to spend that much.
Cliff Lee wants C.C. Sabathia money and I can’t see anyone but the Yankees paying that. Last year, the Dodgers might have been willing to part with the prospects needed for Halladay, but he made it very clear that he preferred to sign with an East Coast team. Halladay is the kind of cat who would play for less if he could stay closer to him – you don’t see that much in today’s greedy athletes.
A better idea might be to go after Zach Greinke, who has made it no secret that he wants out of KC. It would probably have to be a 3-way or 4-way deal, but using Broxton, Loney and a couple of the Dodgers Top Pitching Prospects, I believe that the Dodgers could obtain Greinke. It might be possible to include Casey Blake in the deal, and allow him to play his last season near his home. Just an idea!
Vicente Padilla could probably be had with the same deal he got last season, which would leave the Dodgers with a rotation of Kershaw, Greinke, Billingsley and Padilla. Just because Padilla was injured this season, does not mean he will always be injured. He is a serviceable pitcher and has settled in with LA. That would leave one spot to fill with a “scrapheap rehab guy” or a rookie. Most teams have issues at #5. I still say “Don’t forget Charlie Haeger.” Look how long it took R..A Dickey – at 34 he finally made the big time, however the Dodgers can’t wait that long on Haeger.
Here’s my roster: