Let’s talk starting pitching
What can we realistically expect to add to our rotation, which as we all know was the thing that’s kept us from going further the past 2 years?
I think with the contracts of Andruw Jones and Jason Schmidt off the books, and allowing our best pitcher last year, Randy Wolf, to walk, and not keeping Jon Garland, and probably not Vicente Padilla, we should have money to get someone, right? Probably not.
I think the only way to add pitching is through trade anyway, because unless we added John Lackey for quite a bit of money, and who’s a health risk anyway, there’s not much out there. The next best guy is Wolf, who we’ve had twice, and who I suspect we’ll add again at some point. Wolf’s a very good pitcher, healthy, and a local guy who obviously enjoys playing at home.
Which brings up a good point – if we’re thin in starting pitching, why let Wolf and Garland go? I don’t like Padilla, but after some of his clutch games down the stretch and in the post-season, you could say the same for him. I think Ned and team have some plan of action, or else they wouldn’t let these guys go – unless…
McCourt wants payroll even lower due to his divorce, and Ned knows his only hope is getting lucky with cheap, young arms. Zach Greinke for a player to be named, anyone?
But what else is there available? Roy Halladay is set to make about $16 mil and is a walk free-agent, so we can’t afford him in 2010, much less beyond. I’d be pretty shocked if we could go that route.
Josh Johnson? Edwin Jackson? Those are the guys I’d target, but realistically we’d need both of them, or one, and someone almost as good.
We’re in the same situation just about as we were last winter when fat boy Brad Penny split and Derek Lowe was allowed to walk. Arguably our two best, or certainly most highly paid, starters left and we added one – Wolf.
Now we have a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, who will have another year’s experience and could easily leap into the elite, or, as a kid, stand pat, or digress. Chad Billingsley may have something to prove and reclaim his spot as “ace”, due to no other ace being around, or he could be mentally damaged from last year’s collapse and obvious lack of confidence from his manager.
Hiroki Kuroda could be a reliable middle of the rotation guy who is ace-like on any given day, or he could be a guy who wins a handful of games and/or gets hurt again.
Who fills the other two slots? Is it Charlie Haeger who looked pretty good after coming up from AAA Albuquerque? I like the idea of a durable knuckleballer in the mix – lots of innings, few injuries, plus he’s reasonably young – and for McCourt, cheap!
Maybe we go into the winter meetings and make a nice move for Josh Johnson and go with a rotation of Johnson, Billingsley, Kershaw, Kuroda and Haeger. Not bad. I could live with that, but you could also see how it could go south fast. Johnson is about as close to being an ace as anything out there, and would be a nice fit in LA. And then there’s Edwin Jackson…
Edwin was dealt from the Dodgers after never quite living up to his first start against Randy Johnson at age 19 or 20. People cried when he was dealt, but I’m man enough to admit I didn’t. Sometimes kids don’t develop the way you hoped, or you just need other parts and have to deal prospects to fill needs – especially when you feel you have a chance to win now.
It took awhile for Edwin to get it, but he apparently has. Tampa also dealt him, and now apparently Detroit is willing to. Of the three teams, us, Tampa and Detroit, we look the least silly for dealing him. When he played for us, he wasn’t very good.
I say if we can get Edwin back in blue, we do it. He’d be a great fit also, and again, if we could add both Josh Johnson and Edwin, I’d love our chances for 2010.
I think we have everything else we need – just needing to see who fills out the bench. We’ll know soon enough, I guess, as the winter meetings approach. My favorite time of the baseball year, I’m such a geek. Somehow the excitement of the hot stove tops the action on the field.
So, who do you want to see in the Dodgers 2010 rotation? Who do you feel we can realistically add? Obviously there’s a plan, or else “getting better in starting pitching” means letting three veteran arms walk and replacing them with Rule V picks and assorted garbage. If that’s the case, and 2010 likely being Vin Scully’s final season in the booth, it would be a very good time for me to call it a career as a Dodger fan. My heart couldn’t take anymore.
P.S. The notion of Charlie Steiner and his East Coast phoniness replacing Vin as the “voice of the Dodgers” makes my skin crawl.