The other side of the Winter Meetings

There are a couple other sides to the winter meetings that you guys don’t usually get to hear about, read about or see, so I figured I’d share them with you this morning. My day started early – 7 a.m. to be exact – as I met with a group of students from Indiana University, my alma mater.

A huge portion of the people at the meetings are young students or people right out of college seeking jobs in baseball. There’s a huge job fair in which hundreds of minor league teams (and some big league clubs) hire employees for the upcoming season. Chris Haydock, our assistant director of player development, and I, both went to school at IU and a group of kids who came down asked to meet with us so we gladly spent some time chatting with them about how to crack into the industry.

After that, I had breakfast with two former Dodger colleagues, Tom Seidler and Dan Simon. Tom, whose mother was a co-owner of the Dodgers with the O’Malleys, owns the Visalia Oaks, a minor league team in that town. Dan, who used to design all sorts of merchandise and other things at the Dodgers, now owns his own company called Studio Simon, which is responsible for designing a huge portion of minor league logos, brand identities and the like. Not surprisingly, he actually designed all the logos for the Winter Meetings, too.

Dan has a booth at the trade show here and Tom came to see many of his clients at the trade show, which is another huge portion of what goes on behind the scenes. Every imaginable promotional company, bat maker, bobblehead creator, etc. is here trying to get baseball teams to utilize their services for the coming season.

Anyway, those are two sides of the meetings that rarely get any attention, so I figured you might enjoy hearing about it. Stay tuned for more news later today.

83 Comments

Ned, it sounds like you’ve heard us on the NO TO MANNY deal and we’re hearing that there is ongoing negotiations for Schmidt. Your re-signing of Saito was also a very wise decision, so I’m going to move on to my next lobbying effort. SIGN GAGNE !!! I know that to do so you have to deal with the Devil himself, Boras, but Gagne is the true spirit of this team. His values, work ethic and leadership are unsurpassed. I know the risk is there that he’ll break down, but I hear he’s only looking for 1 year at $5 million. If he is able to come back this guy will have something to prove, not only to himself but to the world !!! A true competitor and team leader !! If I was ever going to gamble on one guy coming back, this would be the guy !!! Take the chance; we’ll all support you in doing so !!

Go Ned !!

Go Dodgers !!

Hey Josh, I wasn’t aware that the Winter Meeting also had an exhibit floor and job fair. I would love to see it !! Can you post some pictures ??

Go Ned !!

Go Dodgers !!

Didn’t we give Nomar 1yr @ $6.5 million + incentives after two injury plagued seasons just to see if he could still do it? What’s the problem with doing the same for Gagne? I’d be okay with offering him the exact same contract that was given to Nomar, with slightly different incentives, of course.

So, does anyone else like the idea of getting together at pub some time this season to watch a game?

Kevin

frankjhalstead-Meeting with you to talk about the Dodgers would be great. There are 2 kids at a sports cloths shop that know a lot about the old Dodgers that I talked to a couple of times. Other than that only 1 diehard Redsox fan.

See “The Case For Gagne” on my blog (Words From The Park @ park.mlblogs.com). Basically, I think there are good reasons to believe he will be healthy in 2007 and with Dodger starters not able to pitch deep into games, a strong bullpen is a must. He has tremendous upside and I believe he is worth the risk. If the Dodgers sign Gagne for what he’s asking for and you factor in Saito and Broxton’s salaries, the Dodgers would be lights out after the 6th inning for less than $7M. Even if Gagne were to get hurt again, you’ll still be getting your money’s worth with Broxton and Saito. Anyway, some things to think about….

thank you ned coletti….schmidt and wolf should work out very nicely…please dont block loneys progress by signing gonzo though. Loney should have no problem projecting similar if not superior numbers.so what do you think guys enough to take down SD with maddux???? its gonna go right down to the wire this year too just watch.. I just hope they sign wells to come back to be the number 5 starter.

i just heard that we got schmidt, i guess thats good… hopefully more is in store for us..

although if we get a bat ( baldelli, andruw jones etc.) i think the division is ours. we need some more offense, that hole in our lineup is gaping.

My guess is now that we have Schmidt, Penny and Loney are going to Atlanta for Jones !!

Go Ned !!

Go Dodgers !!

I disagree, I don’t think we have a hole in our lineup. I think it would be nice to have a solid powr hitter, but I don’t think we need one. As I’ve said before, we didn’t really have one in ’88. Gibby hit 25 HR and Mike Marshall hit 20, no one else on the team had more than 12. Solid baserunning, good pitching, and contact hitting is what will win this for us. Obviously, we have a couple of trades to make. We have like 8 starters on our roster now. I’d like it if a trade involved a power hitter, but I think we’ll be fine if it doesn’t.

What would Atlanta want with another LH hitting 1B? They already have the elder LaRoche. I think Penny/Kemp/throw-in SP(i.e. Hendrickson/Tomko) go to ATL if there’s a trade to be made there.

I like the three year deal if it really has happened. Don’t like 5-6 year deals with high priced pitchers. At least it would get a lot of us to stop hollering about getting a pitcher.John, great point with Gagne. Hadn’t thought of a 3 reliever price tag. Would be pretty impressive with Beimel and a couple of others thrown in. I like Kuo on board but think he is now seen as expendable especially in light of his previous arm surgeries. I think Ned can trade for a hitter with his excess pitchers and not sell the farm. Baldelli certainly seemed to be on the rebound in the last couple of months last season. Only 25, decent power and speed. Maybe a trade would give Repko a place to place if he went with a starter. Maybe a three way trade. I know you guys like to stay away from Tampa as our experiences have not been great.

3 years 47M for Schmidt.
Great move Ned.

Word has it the elder LaRoche will wind up with the Angels and perhaps also Marcus Giles.
Hate to give up Loney as 1B is then an issue in a couple of years. Anyway, Ray, hang on to our hat. Things starting to roll. At least away from the Manny talk. Jones will be only 30 in April so good years left yet and he is durable. Only once with less than 154 games played and that was 153 in his rookie season. Go Ned!! Go Dodgers!!

I would dish out Penny and Kemp for Jones, but I do not want to lose Loney. He could be putting up numbers close to Pujols in the next few years

John – if you make that case and Gagne is signed, he owe’s Broxton & Saito a nice steak dinner for doing all the work last season :)

Josh – nice to hear about the “other” side. I’m a journalism student nearing the end of my education and you can bet that somewhere in MLB is where I’d like to land a job. I’ve already sent in internship applications with the other “Los Angeles” team. Would have sent some in for the Dodgers of course but I didn’t see any opportunities on the job boards.

Where do you recommend somebody like I start when it’s time?

Also, I read Sam Walker’s Fantasyland last year which introduced me to the winter meetings and their job candidates. A funny look on it if you haven’t read it. Great book.

Here comes Schmidt! Alright Ned! I didn’t think he’s sign before Zito. Rumor was he wanted to see what Barry signed for and then use that as a bargaining tool.

whoo hoo! for the Schmidt signing i also like Andruw Jones rumor if only he’d sign an extantion

From SI: The original thought was that Gagne might have to prove he can pitch by holding an exhibition, but several teams are interested on an incentive-laden contract that could pay him close to $9 million. Still a possibility but he wants to close. Zito apparently after $100 contract. Like Baldelli and he is inexpensive. Marlins looking for pitching.

lets not give up loney, it took james 4 years in the minors to develop into the hitter he is, and were gonna trade him?… i’d rather go with team we have now…your right harold, its starting to take form, i’m still upset at neds refusal to deal with borras

BELIEVE IN BLUE!

Penny and Kemp to ATL for Andruw Jones??? How does that sound?

I will be looking forward to seeing Schmidt strike out Bonds!!!!! NICE!

Benny,

I would easily go for the Penny/Kemp for Jones trade. No doubt

Kemp needs 1 more year of patients.
He has a higher ceiling that any rookie we have had in a while, no reason not to give it 6 more months. See if he can shake the Mondesi disease.

I’m not a GM, but I’d sign a Suppan before I trade Penny.

Penny, who might still be a good pitcher just doesn’t seem to fit in in LA. Kemp is a trade off. A good promising youngster for a good proven CF who is still young enough for a five year contract. Although I don’t really want to trade Kemp, I would in this case or in the case of Baldelli but Tampa wants pitchers. I think we need Loney for 1B backup if Nomar gets hurt or as the guy in two years time. My Mark Grace type of guy.

I’m game for that trade. Sounds worth it to me, however Loney’s at a point in his game where he deserves more playing time than he’ll get spelling Ethier, Jones, and Nomar. I might just make the Loney trade. If Adam LaRoche is going to that other “Los Angeles” team (said with very sarcastic overtones), I think that that’s the only way they’d make the deal. I don’t know what the Angels would do with Giles, though. They’ve got Howie Kendrick, much better hitter, to play 2B.

I saw a report that Gonzo was close to signin with LA.. Under 7 Mill for 1 Year. I don’t mind that if it means that LA keeps Penny.. Schmidt, Lowe, Penny, Wolf, and Bills.. that’s a strong rotation and Gonzo is a great leaders. Plus, he’s going to hit a lot of doubles and that means a lot of runs from Pierre and Furcal

Sounds like Ned wants a lot in place before heading home. Sounds like a big name hitter is not in the plans right now. Sounds like quite a few guys want to come to the Dodgers. Also means fewer prospects are in jeopardy. Go Ned!! Go Dodgers!!

Report: NY listening to offers for AROD.

Just read this on today’s “buzz” on ESPN.com:

The Dodgers appear to be in on both Mark Mulder and Jeff Suppan.

Coletti wasn’t kidding, if this is true…he’s looking at overloading our pitching staff and trading for power. If he lands Schmidt and either of those guys, and Atlanta decides to hang on to LaRoche, he could trade 2 pitchers and a lesser prospect for Andruw, and hold on to Loney. Atlanta needs pitching as much as anyone.

That, my friends, would be a good deal.

DON’T TRADE LONEY! PERIOD!

I read last night that Jones wants to play in Atlanta in ’07 and has veto rights to any trade. It’s probably not going to happen…

Ned must plan on trading Penney. He wouldn’t take on Schmidt, Mulder or Suppan and then trade them. Expect Tomko or Henrickson could be traded for relief. Also expect Kuo might be on the line. Don’t think Billingsley will be. Go Ned!! Go Dodgers!!

Anyone else see the physical similarities between Schmidt and Penny… although with Schmidt minus the gut? Brad Penny could be one of the best ever if he worked off that gut of his. He’d have more stamina and would probably not have to work as hard to hit the same speeds he does now. Too bad he’s going to be traded… he might come to this realization soon enough.

I like Schmidt, Penny, Lowe, Wolf and Bills for a starting 5. I don’t want to trade Penny.

Toronto’s not exactly stacked for starting pitchers either. And their offers keep getting turned down! Penny/Hendrickson/prospect to Toronto for Vernon Wells!! That trade totally gets my vote! Some of these starters have to go in a hurry, we’ve got too many and they’re costing us too much money. I think that going after Supp or Mulder is a bad idea. If we can trade away some of what we’ve got, then okay. But I think that spending more money on starting pitching to “stockpile” will hurt us in the end.

We just got Schmidt. Great job Ned. Now lets grab Mulder ot Suppan too!

Does anyone know what the payroll is after signing Schmidt?

guess after reading all that you guys have posted i’m the one that’s lost. don’t know why we sign an 11 game winner for 15+ mil per year but let a 15 game winner go with no real competitive offer and most see it as a good thing. we don’t make a competitve offer to gagne and to see if he’s a loyal dodger. i feel that the dodgers are missing chances at some pretty good free agents just because ned and boras are in a p—— contest. thank god the babe is dead and not a boras client of we’d miss him too.

sabre3: while Schmidt only had 11 wins last year, you have to remember something. He played for the Giants. His ERA was nearly 2/3rds of a point lower than Maddux’s. A pitcher can only keep his team in the ball game. The offense has to take it home. Sometimes a win/loss ratio can heavily depend on “luck”.

I’ll miss Mad Dog even though he was only here a couple months. I saw him every time he pitched at Dodger stadium and it was truly an honor to be there, but oh well… what can we do? We’re probably better off without him.

Also, re: Penny. He had an incredible (Cy Young award worthy) first half, but a terrible second half. If I remember correctly, he was throwing 92-95 before the all star break, and 95-98 after. Maybe he just needs to slow it down a bit?

Penny needs to lose 20 pounds!!! LET’S ALL CALL FOR THAT ON THIS BLOG..

I believe that Ned’s plan seems to be coming together. I agree that he seems to be stocking up on pitching to make for a trade. This neither dissappoint nor surprise me. However, I have to be honest, I wouldn’t mind this pitching staff taking the field with this lineup. Not one bit.

Go Ned!!

Go Blue!!

Here, here!!! Penny to lose 20 pounds! Actually, I was gonna say 25, but if you feel like 20 is enough that’s cool. Losing the weight isn’t the only thing that needs to be done, however. He needs to build up his stamina and learn to attack the strike zone more. booty – I think his velocity was more like 94-96 before and 95-98 after, but you’re on point with that. He needs to stop pushing pitches and start locating pitches. How many times did he get ahead 0-2 only to give up 3 straight balls and force a fastball down the middle? If he could get his avg pitch count/inning down to around 13-15, we could see a lot more value out of him. I’d love it if he could just pitch 1 CG this year and maybe throw 210 innings. He has very similar stuff to Schmidt’s, he just doesn’t use it as well. Perhaps, if he stays in LA, Penny will pick up some very valuable tips from Jason.

booty – you’re right on point again with the run support statement re: Schmidt. Of his 3 CG last year he actually lost 2. How often does that happen? The win column is a very deceptive statistic. For instance, Woody Williams had more wins than Jason Schmidt and Jake Peavy, but anyone that would argue he’s a better pitcher is out of their mind. If a pitcher’s team doesn’t put him ahead, he can’t get the win. I’m kind of with lohmeyet on this, I wouldn’t mind this pitching staff taking the field with this lineup. Not at all. Of course, we’ll have to do something with our “spare” starters, but our starting 5 now look great to me.

lohmeyet -
i’m with you. no need to trade ANY of our significant pieces at this point, especially if we have hendrickson, hall, tomko, and possibly kuo to package up. we can definitely offer an enticing trade package to a team at this point without trading loney or bills.

anyone else think this might turn out to be another exciting season to be a dodger fan?

I hope they offer the coca cola twelve pack again

you guys here that the Schmidt signing is NOT a done deal yet? any truth to that?

the Cards are giving Schmidt more years & money

Shaping up well puppyhead. Looking good. Still a bit to come I think – relief and perhaps another hitter. If he can’t get a fulltime shot with the Dodgers I hope Jason Repko gets a chance to play regularly somewhere. It would seem no significant prospect pieces would have to be traded although a prospect would sweeten the pot. Ned seems to be protecting the farm. Way to go Ned. Go Dodgers!!

bluebleeder88,

This was on espn.com INSIDER.

********

Free-agent pitcher Jason Schmidt and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a three-year contract worth $47 million.

********

I’m sure that this is pending a favorable physical.

“you guys here that the Schmidt signing is NOT a done deal yet? any truth to that?”

Yes. He still needs to pass his physical, but since Colletti and the new trainer know all about this guy, it’s pretty much a done deal…

Also bluebleeder88, I think only wanted to play on the West Coast. I’m not sure the Cards ever really had a chance with him.

*HE only….that is.

Reports indicate Schmidt has signed with Dodgers.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – A dismal off-season for the Mariners on the pitching front took a turn for the worse here today as Kelso native Jason Schmidt agreed to a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The contract is reported to be for $47 million and raises questions about exactly how many years the Mariners were willing to go in bidding for the 33-year-old former San Francisco Giants hurler. It had been felt that Seattle would offer Schmidt a four-year deal despite the fact he turns 34 before next season begins.

Ok, lets look at this from the perspective of the GM, trying to field his 25 man opening day roster (in my opinion) -

1b- Nomar

2b- Kent

SS- Furcal

3b-Betemit (Only 26)

Of-Pierre

Of-Ethier

Of-?

C- Martin

Bench Inf- Martinez (can play all inf)

Bench Inf- Saenz (clutch Righty PH)

Bench Out-Anderson (clutch Lefty PH)

Bench Out-Repko (pinch runner, +defense)

Backup C- Lieberthal

Sp- Schmidt

Sp- Lowe

Sp- Wolf

Sp-Billingsley

Sp-Kuo (avg. of 5 regular season starts – 6inn, 2.2runs, 1.4BB, 7SO)

Long Relief/Emergency Starter- Hendrickson (can do emergency starts)

Short Relief- Beimel, Broxton, Saito

Needs- Outfielder, 3 Relief pitchers

Possible if healthy-Werth, Brazoban

Tradeable Pitching- Penny, Hamulack, Houtlon, Osoria, Tomko

Tradeable Fielders- Toby Hall, Loney, Robles,Young, Kemp

If Brazoban is healthy, and we keep Osoria (live arm, young) or Tomko, we only need one more reliever and an outfielder. In my opinion best trade option is Penny, Kemp, and assorted pieces for an outfield bat.

Possible young outfielders we could use-

Jeff Francoeur ATL- .260/29/103

Brad Hawpe COL – .293/22/84

Matt Holliday COL – .326/34/114

Jason Bay PIT – .286/35/109

Carl Crawford TB – .305/18/77

Vernon Wells TOR – .303/32/106

I say we pick up one of these bats, sit on Loney (only 22 i think) for another year (chances of Nomar/Kent getting injured – good) and we’ll be pretty much set.

Boy am I going to hear about it tomorrow from my Cardinal fan cronies. I can’t wait.

Thank you Ned.

Go Blue!!

Little echoed comments from general manager Ned Colletti that left-handed reliever Joe Beimel would be welcomed back to the club.”Joe meant a lot to the club,” said Little. “It was unfortunate circumstances he got into. It’s something he’s learned from. I’m looking forward to having him back on our club.”

thanks for the info. peeps i guess that’s why they call in the hot stove

On espn.com -

6:05 p.m., from Jerry Crasnick

• Now that the Dodgers have added starters Randy Wolf and Jason Schmidt, they have enough depth in the rotation to trade a starter for a bat. Two baseball people said the Dodgers are shopping right-hander Brad Penny.

atomikkid – Good plan. I really like a young OF and would add Baldelli to that list. Ned still after another pitcher so Penny is more expendable. I just keep thinking if,if,if,if, Penny could only get on track we would have a rather imposing rotation. However, he seems to be an uncomfortable Dodger.
I do wish Robles, Delwyn Young, Repko could find places to play the MLB level. I expect Gonzo will be the other OF for next year.

Beimel got a tattoo to remind him never to drink again. Good enough apology for me :)

I’m thinking Joe’s incident might not only have saved his career but also given him his life back. I truly hope so. Everyone should have a second chance. Many others have had second chances and some more than that.

There’s been serious talk that Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon is set to move to the starting rotation in 2007. This opens up the huge possibility that Eric Gagne will be relieving for the Red Sox next year. I don’t like it…

I am enjoying myself reading all the posts this winter. what we want and what we shall receive are two different things. I have learned over the years from one season to the next to be thankfull for what transpires during the winter and root like **** the next year for DODGER BLUE.
FAN SINCE (51)

Hi 51 – good point. What we want, of course, is different for everyone but what we do is the same – continue to be the best fans in the world when the season starts. I think we are looking better for this season as the kids mature and we have added pitching strength. Going to have good speed too. That’s all we need is to get better each year because once you’re there anything can happen. Although I love to win, for me the journey is as much fun as the destination. Go Ned!1 Go Dodgers!! Oh yes, I really like that Ned surprises us – Pierre, Wolf, Schmidt.

excellent. always cringed when schmidt pitched against us. had a feeling ned would deliver another ex-giant. now let’s go out and get mulder for more pitching depth…. and then get vernon wells. add more speed plus power and an excellent defensive OF. i’m surprised that we have not heard of the possibility of adding miggy tejada to man 3b…

Atomkid, about your list, the only guy on there that would be feasible and/or advisable would be Crawford because he’s a corner guy. If you take a CF and put him on the corner it will upset him, and no need for that. Crawford has some good upside, especially since he’s so young, and then we get even more speed.

Don’t forget the following:

Adam Dunn

Pat Burrell

Marcus Thames (though I think his price may be lower)

Nick Swisher (if we’re willing to pay lots of salary, since they are losing Zito)

I would want to know more info on:

Raul Ibanez (fluke this year, or did he become more agressive, or what?)

Bill Hall (would he play in the outfield? If not, could we shop Furcal, maybe to Toronto?)

euhlman, I love your wisdom. I agree that the NY incident will likely save Beimel’s career.

Pierre is no Wills, but does this lineup remind anyone else here of the 63 or 65 Dodgers. No power, speed, and clutch hitting. Not that the pitching staffs compare at all, but the in both cases the scales tip towards the hurlers.

Go Ned!!

Go Blue!!

Hey, atomikkid, I was in the middle of writing up almost the very same 25 man and 40 man roster breakdown. Your thoughts are very close to mine. I have to agree with Harold though, Gonzo looks to be the other OF. I like the idea, He’s motivated and he’ll have something to prove to AZ.

Go Ned !!

Go Dodgers !!

Pats – Crawford is going to be awesome and reports are he is untouchable. Very young yet and his power numbers increase each year. 30-30 someday. Would love to have him. Seems to me Furcal became an excellent player last year once he was totally healthy and will be a Dodger fixture for the duration of his contract. Go Ned!! Go Dodgers!!

lohmeyet –
I think you’re right. The team compares pretty well to the mid-60s teams. But you know – there are very few pitching staffs, EVER, which have compared to those. As long as our pitching remains dependable and deep, I definitely see this team being a fine one with speed and defense.

On another note, please, no more talk about trading Furcal…he was the sparkplug last year, and if we trade him, then why did we give up on Izturis? He stays.

Furcal for the duration of his contract, two years I think. I wonder why Pierre is 5, don’t think there is anyone in the organization for lead-off is there? Thought I read somewhere that the Pierre compared very favorably with either Wills or Lopes in career stats, think it was Wills. Got to have speed at the top.

i just hope Grady puts Furcal in leadoff…there are reports taht they would bat Pierre first, Martin second and Furcal 3rd…i think that would be a huge mistake.

schmidt pickup okay, but not great. would rather have offered maddux a two year contract. he
will give you close to 200 in.,

with an era in the 3.00′s, is great with the bat and the glove

and a guru in the club house.

i mean, isn’t he at least better

than wolf, bills and kuo? and worse, yet, he joins the padres.

and why not offer gagne a $5mil, nomar-like contract with a ton of incentives? esp since he has been a dodger his whole career. just hope he goes to the AL.

don’t love the gonzalez deal either. why is ned insisting on getting “old” again. what will the OF look like now – gonzo, pierre and nomar?

or maybe ethier in right?

I just got back in town. Did I miss anything? (Just kidding. I’ve spent the last four hours reading a week’s worth of posts and replies). I’ve got to say, I REALLY like what I am seeing.

GO DODGERS!

This just posted five minutes ago:

More on Gagne: Colletti conceded that free-agent closer Eric Gagne probably will sign elsewhere, but the club attempted to keep the former Cy Young winner with an incentive-laden one-year offer, guaranteeing not $1 million as previously reported, but about $4 million with performance bonuses that could bring his salary up to the $10 million he made last year.

Gagne, who is coming off two operations and a two-inning season, rejected that offer. Scott Boras, Gagne’s agent, said on Tuesday that the reliever was very likely to be signed by the end of the Winter Meetings, which is Thursday.

“I would have loved to have Eric Gagne,” said Colletti. “He’s the first player I heard from when I got the job. I was looking forward to having him pitch and compete [in 2006]. I had seen enough of him from the other side to know how great a closer he is. He was looking forward to a new season. He told me his ideas on personnel. He showed me how much he loved to compete and have the club be successful. Unfortunately, [his season lasted] two innings.”

Don’t know about you guys… but that sounded fair enough. Why Eric? Why are you leaving? So much for your idea of an “incentive laden contract”. As I remember, it was Eric who first thought that would be the best scenario for him… especially since he wanted to remain a Dodger so badly.

Luis Gonzalez will have a chance to prove Arizona wrong in a Dodger uniform. 1 year 7 million dollars, he’ll play left field, which moves Ethier/Anderson to right field. This can pretty much end the Manny rumors as if they weren’t dead already. Latimes.com has the story.

Good news: Jason Schmidt.

Bad news: Luis Gonzalez.

Gonzo in Blue – I REALLY like that one! He’s not a 35+ homerun guy anymore, but we should get at least 20 from him (and a sack full of doubles!).

GO DODGERS!

That sounds like a very fair offer to Gagne. I am very disappointed in him. Probably ought to blame Borat.

Gonzo can bat third. Then Kent and Nomar behind him.

I’m very sad about the Gagne situation, but thanks to some of you I’m growing to understand the decision. The offer seemed more than fair.

I too like the Gonzo signing. As I’ve written before, I’m not only in favor of keeping the kids, I’m more so a fan of easing them in slowly.

Go Blue!!!

Nice article on espn.com INSIDER. I thought most of you would enjoy reading.

********

It’s tough to call any deal that calls for a player to earn a salary of over $15 million a year a bargain, but the Dodgers’ three-year, $47 million deal with Jason Schmidt is one of the better deals of this offseason.

Schmidt was the best of all of the true free-agent starters on the market this winter (since Daisuke Matsuzaka wasn’t technically a free agent), and yet was one of the only decent starters willing to accept a deal under four years. He stays in the National League, in the pitcher-friendly NL West, and will play in front of what projects to be very good defensive outfield — important to Schmidt, who’s been a flyball pitcher since he first went to San Francisco in 2001. The Dodgers’ rotation now reads Schmidt-Derek Lowe-Brad Penny-Randy Wolf-Hong-Chih Kuo, with Chad Billingsley in Triple-A or in a long relief role or as possible trade bait. If the Dodgers do decide to deal for a “now” bat in left field, they can trade Billingsley and one of Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp without hurting their 2007 club.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti deserves credit for largely limiting his long-term commitments to three years or fewer. (The Juan Pierre contract looks even more odd when viewed in this light.) Not only does it limit the Dodgers’ exposure to declines in performance, but it may make these players easier to trade if the club’s financial picture should change, since dealing a player with one year left on his contract is easier than dealing a player with three years left.

By signing Schmidt and deleting him from the Giants’ rotation, the Dodgers have left one of their divisional rivals with a rotation that contains just two sure things in rising star Matt Cain and mediocre innings-eater Matt Morris, with question marks down the line after that. With all the money the Giants have already spent this offseason, it would be surprising if they didn’t go all in and sign one of the major veteran starters left on the market (Barry Zito, Ted Lilly, Jeff Suppan, Gil Meche, etc.).

********

Go Blue!!

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