As the first day of baseball's winter meetings came to a close Monday night,
The Dodgers are in search of a starting pitcher. They say they can still afford to make a major move. And they wouldn't have to forfeit their first-round pick in the draft next year if they sign Lester.
That doesn't mean they will.
The Dodgers' short- and long-term plans for their rotation will have to consider the contractual status of
Greinke is heading for the third year of a six-year, $147-million contract. The deal includes a clause that permits Greinke to become a free agent at the end of next season.
Greinke is still owed $94 million over the next four seasons.
If Greinke doesn't exercise his escape clause and the Dodgers add Lester or Scherzer this off-season, the team would have more than $400 million tied into three pitchers. Such a concentration of assets could make some Dodgers executives uncomfortable. Remember, it was owner Mark Walter who once said, "Pitchers break."
And if Greinke leaves next off-season, the Dodgers would be able to turn to a free-agent market that figures to be abundant with pitching. That free-agent class will include
Of course, that wouldn't address the Dodgers' need of another starter for next season.
While Kershaw, Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and
"I think we definitely want to figure out how to add at least one more arm from the outside, whether that be via trade or free agency," said
The most attractive pitcher who could be available in a trade is probably Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Hamels' contract calls for him to be paid $100 million over the next four seasons. He turns 31 next month.
The left-hander's contract includes a partial no-trade clause, but the Dodgers aren't among the teams to which he could block a trade.
However, there is a significant obstacle. The Dodgers have a weak farm system and, as a result, are reluctant to part with the caliber of prospects the Phillies would demand.
Free-agent alternatives include right-hander
Shields, who attended Newhall Hart High, turns 33 this month and would presumably sign a shorter contract than Lester or Scherzer.
Another possibility is former Dodgers right-hander
Kuroda, who turns 40 in February, has pitched under one-year contracts for the last four years. If he decides to pitch in the major leagues next year, he is expected to do so under another one-year deal.
The danger in hiring a one-year pitcher is that it sets up a potentially hectic off-season next year. With Greinke possibly departing and Haren's contract expiring at the end of next season, the Dodgers could be forced to look for as many as three starting pitchers next off-season.
Matt Kemp update
In exchange for Kemp, the Padres are believed to be offering a package that includes
The Dodgers would presumably cover a portion of the $107 million Kemp is owed over the next five seasons.
Friedman wouldn't address Kemp's situation but made clear he had no problems making trades with division rivals.