Los Angeles Dodgers taking cash to Nashville?

Show me the money. Or at least that is what the Dodgers are telling FOX.

Earlier this week, it was reported the Los Angeles Dodgers were going to receive $6 billion over 25 years from FOX Sports for local cable television rights.  FOX’s current deal with the Dodgers, which amounts to about $40 million per year, expires after the 2013 season.  The belief was FOX wanted to ink a new deal on or prior to November 30th since that is the date their window to be the exclusive bidder for broadcast rights closes.  Alas, the waiting is the hardest part. No deal has been confirmed as December kicks in.

The Dodgers are now free to entertain other offers for their TV rights and perhaps continue moving towards starting their own network, a la the Yankees and Los Angeles Lakers.The timing of a new TV deal appeared perfect -baseball’s winter meetings kick off in Nashville on December 3rd and the additional $250 million a year FOX  would be anteing up might have given the Blue Crew all the ammunition they’d need to add some big names to their roster.  Of course, any team making a big splash at this annual event is somewhat of a rarity.

History has shown that these meetings are used more as “window shopping” opportunities where teams simply discuss who may be available more than actually pulling the trigger on roster changes. Many baseball historians agree that you have to go all the way back to 1971 to find a winter meeting where the walk actually backed up the talk.  That year, there were 15 trades involving 53 players, including aging great Frank Robinson going from the Orioles to the Dodgers, and emerging great Joe Morgan going from the Astros to the Reds.

The Dodgers are in hot pursuit of a starting pitcher since, as of right now, Josh Beckett, and his questionable work ethic, is the #2 man behind Clayton Kershaw. Starters Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly are fighting back from injuries that ended their 2012 season prematurely.  Chris Capuano has fallen out of favor. He was 9-4 at the All-Star break but won just three of fifteen starts afterwards.

It has been confirmed that the Dodgers have spoken to the best free agent pitcher available, Zack Greinke.  Greinke, 15-5 in 2012 between the Brewers and Angels, is likely  looking for something in between the 6 year, $144 million deal Cole Hamels signed with the Phillies and C.C. Sabathia’s 7 year, $161 million deal with the Yankees.

The Dodgers may also talk to pitcher Annibal Sanchez if Greinke’s asking price turns them off.

The Dodgers second biggest need is probably depth in the outfield.  Since Manny Ramirez was discarded in 2010, the Dodgers have been unable to find a solid, everyday left fielder.  Carl Crawford, one of the big names that came over in the trade with Boston, is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Reports are he will probably not be ready until the season is well underway.  There are a couple of “non-headlining” outfield free agents that could fill in nicely, if they don’t mind possibly moving to the number 4 outfielder spot once Crawford returns.

The much traveled Ryan Ludwick, 35, hit 26 home runs with 80 RBI for the NL Central champion Reds last year.  He recently declined a mutual option to re-sign with them.

There is talk that the defending World Series champion Giants are on the fence about signing Angel Pagan. Pagan, 30, won’t add much in the power department (8 home runs in 2012) but he did bat .288 with a league leading 15 triples. Even if Pagan is available, the Dodgers may not want to take a shot with signing another Giant.

The Dodgers enticed pitcher Jason Schmidt away from their hated rivals in 2006 and infielder Juan Uribe was signed to a three year deal in 2011. Schmidt was injured for all but 10 games over three years. Meanwhile, Uribe has hit a paltry 10 home runs and batted below .200 in his two years as a Dodger. He finished 2012 on the bench and in the doghouse.

The Dodgers may also be searching for catching depth.  They declined an option to re-sign Matt Treanor, last season’s back up to starter A.J. Ellis(.270, 13 HR).  The Dodgers appear ready to give prospect Tim Federowicz the number 2 spot unless a solid veteran becomes available.

Federowicz had a decent season in Triple A batting .294 with 11 home runs. He only has 16 at bats at the major league level.

As far as trade bait, if the Dodgers do land Greinke, they could offer up Capuano or pitcher Aaron Harang  to a team looking to add a number 4 or 5 veteran starter. There is a rumor the Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in Capuano.

  • http://profiles.google.com/craigbhill craig hill

    Very good summary, Ken. More accurate than most i’ve read, which have been making ridiculous claims.

    Altho the discussion on Fox and its idda $6 billion offer is still of that quality. To LA, that was always just the opening offer. It made zero sense for the Dodgers to jump at it before Time-Warner could weigh in. TW has the ability to put The Dodger Channel they could produce in partnership with the Dodgers on their high-profile channel 6 lineup sheet if they want to, in order to take the Dodgers away from Fox, which can’t even promise cable and satellite would CARRY a stand-alone Dodger channel on Fox. It’s the Dodgers’ option, not Fox’. Ridiculous claims that Fox was somehow sticking it to the Dodgers, THREATENING them that they had to take their $6 B or leave it, was beyond laughable. If anything, Fox had to be whimpering when they got on their knees to the Dodgers, because if LA leaves them like the Lakers did, for TW, Fox may lose their channel slot for Prime Ticket for the lack of live sports broadcasting, and maybe $50 billion??? in lost revenue. The Dodgers would have been foolish to accept that paltry $6 B opening bid. Now, while they kick back and Fox sweats, TW can legally give them a call that starts with the words, Not So Fast, and the Dodgers can respond, What did you have in mind??.

    Your assertion you and somebody else expected the Dodgers to arrive in Nashville “flush” with Fox’ $6 B to spend is as if you don’t know the Dodgers have over $500 billion at their disposal already. Not that the Guggenheimers would spend that amount on them, just that they already have a lot more than 6 to play with. ANY free agent they want is still more than available to them. They seem to be playing the market a bit, not agreeing to anything until they get a handle on what other teams offer Greinke. There’s no sense in offering him $200 million if they discover no one else is going to offer $140, primarily because every other suitor for Greinke knows that in a money shoot-out with the Dodgers, they’re not going to be trumped. In which case they could wrap up Greinke for $141 million, and put him on a very powerful contender, which could more than make up the difference to him for having had, say, $9 M shaved off his desired number, lowering his cost down to the degree they don’t have to pay Kershaw $201 million just to nail him down for life. $142 M might just do it.

    I like Ludwick or, even better, Pagan as the 4th outfielder. They’d not only be taking a huge sparkplug from Frisco, but does anyone remember how Pagan played in Dodger Stadium in September? He was a house afire. Thinking he might turn out to be another Uribe just because he’s another Giant is like wondering if Dee Gordon over the winter might eat Uribe’s weight in fat. Pagan is not the overpaid fat guy every Dodger fan hated when Stupid Ned Colletti threw $21 million at Uribe, understanding two years ahead of Colletti that he was just another in a long line of bad Colletti purchases. Pagan would have to have both legs amputated to be such a bad addition. If he insists on becoming the regular at LF, the Dodgers could dangle just enough much more than anyone else, with the caveat he had to EARN that starting position in order to keep it, Pagan just might be challenged enough to pull it off. In which case now we have a ball o’ fire in left, and could eat Crawford’s salary and trade him for, say, the best 10 prospects on Tampa Bay’s farm, which would cut about 2 years off the Dodgers’ timetable to bring their minor league system back to immediate snuff, and at a price, Crawford’s coming salary, that would make the deal a good one for LA.

    As for AJ’s backup catcher, i’d like to see FedEx prove, in Glendale, he could pick up the glove if AJ were injured. Otherwise, catching this next year might be one of their weakest positions, unless they shock everybody by trading, as you sort of suggested, a battery of either Capuono or Harang and FedEx for a quality catcher before those pitchers and catchers report, and let some other team find out if FedEx can do the job. The feeling at the end of last year was that he might not.

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