Acquisitions: P Jon Garland, IF Juan Uribe, OF Marcus Thames, C Dioner Navarro, OF Tony Gwynn Jr., IF/OF Eugenio Velez, IF Aaron Miles, P Matt Guerrier, P Kenley Jansen, P Blake Hawksworth, P Mike MacDougal, P Lance Cormier, P Tim Redding
Losses: Manager Joe Torre, C Russel Martin, OF Scott Podsednik, P Jeff Weaver, C Brad Ausmus (retired), IF Ryan Theriot, P George Sherrill, IF Chin-Lung Hu, OF Reed Johnson, P Ron Mahay, P Brent Leach
Free Agents Resigned: P Ted Lilly, P Hiroki Kuroda, C Rod Barajas, P Vicente Padilla OF/1B Jay Gibbons
Projected Starting Lineup, Rotation, and Closer:
C Rod Barajas
1B James Loney
2B Juan Uribe
3B Casey Blake
SS Rafael Furcal
CF Matt Kemp
RF Andre Ethier
SP1 Clayton Kershaw
SP2 Chad Billingsley
SP4 Ted Lilly
SP3 Hiroki Kuroda
SP5 Jon Garland
CL Jonathan Broxton
After the Dodgers did almost nothing at all in the 2010 offseason, and amidst speculation that the endlessly messy divorce proceedings between Frank and Jamie McCourt had produced a spending freeze, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti surprised the baseball world by going on a wild spending binge this winter, committing more than $90 million to signing free agents.
The problem is, none of these guys are all that good, most of them are getting overpaid, and Colletti utterly failed to fill the team’s most glaring hole, which was a leftfielder to replace Manny Ramirez.
If you look at the list of new acquisitions for the Dodgers this offseason, are any of these guys better than a bench player, 5th starter, or bullpen backender on a playoff team?
Juan Uribe, maybe, but giving a 3-year, $21 million deal to a 35-year-old infielder with no plate discipline is questionable at best. With Uribe fresh off his star turn in the Giants world series run last fall, this is more a case of Colletti’s chronic big-name obsession and his single-minded determination to acquire as many former Giants as possible than a case of good sense.
Tony Gwynn Jr. was a pure big-name move (thanks to his father) – an all-field, no bat AAAA type.
Matt Guerrier was the least of the three Twins relievers to switch teams this winter, and has been one of the most overused arms in the majors over the past three years (making him due for a breakdown), but Uncle Ned still saw fit to give him an insane, 3-year, $12 million deal.
Rod Barajas was a good pickup down the stretch last year as an injury replacement for Russell Martin, who came cheap and performed well, but then Colletti turned around and gave him a $3.25 million deal, which will be the highest salary of the 35-year-old journeyman catcher’s career.
Marcus Thames is a backup DH who has no place on a National League ballclub.
The rest of the acquisitions are random castoffs from other teams who are hardly worth even mentioning.
The one area where Colletti did well was to re-sign Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla, and to bring in Jon Garland to shore up the starting rotation, which is the one truly solid part of this team. This was something he absolutely had to do at bare minimum this offseason, so even though he overpaid for Lilly he can be cut some slack here.
Overall it was both surprising and unsurprising offseason for the Dodgers. The surprising part was that Ned Colletti suddenly had so much money to spend, but the unsurprising part was that he spent it so poorly. After so many years of watching Colletti throw money away on big-name or “experienced” veterans past their prime, there is no reason to expect that he will ever change is ways.
Almost everyone he signed this offseason is a player whose production could be replaced or reproduced at lower cost, and that’s the definition of poor management. Colletti probably did just enough to keep the team above the 80-win level, but so much would have to go right for the Dodgers to win 90 that it’s hardly worth considering.
Offseason Grade: D+