If Stan Kasten is smart (and I am not certain how smart he is) he won’t even consider free agents like Robinson Cano or David Price and here’s why:
The Dodgers currently have nearly $170,000,000 in Guaranteed Contracts to their players for 2014 and that does not include the $25 million they will have to pay Clayton Kershaw. AJ Ellis, Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen will also get substantial raises in arbitration (Elbert and Baxter are also eligible). So, that’s near $205 million they have tied up for next season and they will have to replace or re-sign some of the following players:
- Mark Ellis
- Hairston, Jr.
- Brian Wilson
I think Brian Wilson will get a 3 year/$20 million deal as a closer somewhere. I also think Nolasco will get a deal close to $50 million. The Dodgers would like to have JP Howell back, but 2 years at $10 million is what he will likely get. Punto will be back at $2 million, but Hairston, Jr., Young and Schumaker will walk. I could see Uribe back on a 2 year/12 million deal and Mark Ellis coming back as insurance for Guerrero on a one year deal ($6 million). Marmol could be back at the right price.
Signing older players in not the road map to success. I think someone will give Cano $200 to $250 million and he will be near 40 at the end of the deal. That’s a recipe for disaster. Ask the Yankees and Angels. Who would you rather have – Michael Waca or Albert Pujols? The Dodgers need top be able to grow from within. They have arms like Lee, Stripling, Garcia, Anderson, Dominguez and Withrow with several others nearing ready. Dee Gordon needs to become a super-sub by playing the OF and 2B, as well as 3B. He needs to play all three OF positions this winter.
The Dodgers have enough problems with older and fragile players. Ethier and Kemp are aging and brittle. Crawford has a history of injuries as does Hanley and they are getting older too (aren’t we all?). How much longer can the Dodgers just pencil in A-Gone’s name everyday? Another year? Father time marches on…
If the Dodgers make a trade, it should be for prospects. Kemp is un-tradable, but Ethier and/or Crawford could be traded if they ate a substantial portion of their contracts. It might be worth it for a couple of top tier prospects. The two Top FA outfield prospects are Choo and Elbury who will be other get $100 million + deals. I’d love Choo, but the Dodgers would have to trade Ethier and Crawford. which, though possible, isn’t likely. There’s a lot to be decided, especially in the pitching arena. What’s the price for Price? Again, he’s too old, in my opinion. I might consider Tanaka, but don’t forget that the Dodgers have Billingsley, Beckett, Fife, Stripling, Anderson and Lee likely available too.
The challenge is to get a lot younger. I’d love to see this next season:
- Choo LF
- Ramirez SS
- Puig RF
- Gonzalez 1B
- Kemp CF
- Guerrero 2B
- Uribe 3B
- Ellis C
- Van Slyke
- Pederson or Baxter
That payroll would be around $230 million. Get younger!
Tim Wallach will likely be gone to manage somewhere. How about offering a big contract to Brad Ausmus to be Mattingly’s bench coach? That would make him very nervous, I assume…