It has been a long time, Rams, so long that the
It has been a long time too, Rams, since you had a winning season. That was 2003, when Eric Gagne won the
So welcome home, Rams, and get to work. We'll see how you look in a few months. In the meantime, the Angels open
What kind of team could you make out of the remaining free agents?
You'd have a pretty good lineup, certainly, but it would have been much more imposing before first baseman
CF Dexter Fowler
2B Howie Kendrick
LF Yoenis Cespedes
RF Justin Upton
DH Pedro Alvarez
1B Justin Morneau/Steve Pearce
SS Ian Desmond
3B David Freese
C Tony Sanchez
This lineup has more punch than the projected Angels lineup, albeit loads more strikeouts too. Davis led the major leagues in strikeouts last year, but Desmond, Upton and Fowler all were among the top 12.
Frankly, the Angels would do well to sign any of the top five guys in that lineup. Freese should have taken a deal from the Angels; when the two sides could not reach agreement, the Angels surrendered promising reliever Trevor Gott in a trade for
The Dodgers want the draft pick they would get if Kendrick signs elsewhere much more than they want to bring back Kendrick. That would give them four draft picks before the start of the second round. But the Kendrick pick evaporates if he does not sign before the draft;
With that lineup, why would that mythical team struggle to win games?
The pitchers would not be very good. Cobble a starting rotation out of the available free agents, and you might come up with this:
Starting pitchers were the most coveted commodity in free agency this off-season. Of the nine players signed to free-agent contracts worth at least $80 million, all but two (Davis and outfielder
One reason: the projected free-agent pitchers next off-season, with
Lincecum, who is coming off hip surgery, is something of a wild card. He could be a back-end starter or an effective reliever, or he could be done. Hard to believe now, but there was a time the Dodgers were ripped for drafting a kid named
Lincecum won the NL Cy Young Award in 2007 and 2008, before Kershaw had completed a full season in the major leagues. Kershaw has won three NL Cy Young awards since then, and he has finished in the top three for five consecutive years. The earned-run average for each pitcher over the last four years: 2012: Kershaw 2.53, Lincecum 5.18; 2013: Kershaw 1.83, Lincecum 4.37; 2014: Kershaw 1.77, Lincecum 4.74; 2015: Kershaw 2.13, Lincecum 4.13.
The Dodgers have won the
Two of those rebuilding teams play in the
Bottom line: The Dodgers,
The bottom two teams in the West combined to lose 182 games.
How did the Dodgers most effectively use their financial might this off-season?
That $300-million payroll was an aberration, not an annual thing. While the talking heads were blabbering about the team signing Greinke and Price, the Dodgers did not flex their financial muscle until the MRI exam results for Kenta Maeda scared off most every other club.
The Dodgers committed $45 million over eight years to the Japanese ace, an average of $5.6 million a year, even if his elbow blows out and he never pitches again. Why in the name of
Maeda, who won Japan's equivalent of the Cy Young Award last year, does not get another dollar unless he stays healthy. If he does, and if he pitches well enough to stay in the starting rotation for all eight years, the Dodgers' maximum commitment would be $15.75 million per year. That is about what the Cubs just paid to sign 37-year-old John Lackey as a free agent, and rest assured salaries will go up long before Maeda's contract expires in 2023.
What is the best evidence the Dodgers are no longer the swashbuckling free spenders the rest of the baseball world still imagines them to be?
On Jan. 15, 2014, the Dodgers signed Kershaw to a $215-million contract extension.