Monday, December 17, 2007

Dodgers Sign Kuroda

This weekend, the Dodgers won the (quiet) bidding war for Japanese right-handed pitcherHiroki Kuroda. Kuroda, 32, has a 3.69 lifetime ERA and 103-89 record and is coming off the most successful year of his career. He will get $35.3 million over the next three years to pitch in Dodger blue.

Experts call him a ground ball pitcher with exellent control and the ability to step up and take command late in a game (the 6th and 7th innings). He's probably going to slip into the Number 3 starter role, behind Derek Lowe and Brad Penny.

Los Angeles? Hmmm..I hear the weather is nice there.

I'm liking our winter signings thus far because we're actually doing what we said we set out to do. We needed a power bat, so we signed Andruw Jones to a two-year deal. I already commented on my slight misgivings about that deal, but I really think last year was an abberation and, now that he's healthy, Jones will step up and do what we need him to in 2008.

We needed another solid starting pitching arm and in comes Kuroda. I'm waiting for more word to start coming out on him, but I like what I'm hearing so far. Our rotation will consist of Lowe, penny, Kuroda, Billingsley and either Loaiza or Schmidt (the preferable option, in my opinion, if he's healthy). Not the most impressive in baseball, but definitely solid.

Those two acquisitions cost us a lot of money (if you're doing the math, which I am). However, we signed both of these guys without giving up a single young prospect. Martin, LaRoche, Kemp, Ethier, Billingsley and Broxton are all still in Dodger Blue and at least three of them figure to be significant contributors to the team in 2008. I call it a win-win.

I still think there's work to be done. I'd love to add a bat at third, but the market was thin to begin with and Lowell and Rodrigguez re-signing with their current teams and Cabrera going to the Tigers, I'm not sure who else is out there that's really worth having. We may end up having to count on Garciaparra to step back up to his 2006 Comeback Player of the Year form or on Andy LaRoche to mature enough to step up to the Big League level. This concerns me...

I simply cannot do it...a-looooooone!

I also would feel better having another solid lefty arm in the bullpen. Broxton shouldered most of that weight by himself last year and, toward the end of the season, he started to chow the strain. Injuries have decimated our bullpen in the last few years, and it got to the poitn where it was a total crapshoot what you'd get on any given night: a lights-out strikeout machine or a ragtag troupe who couldn't get an out to save their lives. It hurt my heart.

Still, heading into the holidays, I'm happier about the way we're shaping up than I have been in the past few years. Though I do tend to be an offseason optimist...

No comments: