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Category: Ned Colletti

Dodgers sign Chris Capuano; Hiroki Kuroda looks gone

Capuano_275Hope that new Dodgers owner leans to the left.

If not quite desperate to add a starter to their rotation, the bankrupt Dodgers were sadly at least sniffing in the area. And so it came Friday, that they signed left-handed Chris Capuano for two years and $10 million.

The agreement was first reported by ESPN’s Jim Bowden.

The addition of the fragile Capuano all but ends right-hander Hiroki Kuroda’s four-year career with the Dodgers, and leaves the Dodgers with three left-handers in their rotation — Clayton Kershaw, Ted Lilly and Capuano. Chad Billingsley is their only certain right-handed starter. Right-hander Nate Eovaldi is currently in line to be the team’s No.3 starter.

The addition of Capuano, 33, as a fifth starter wouldn’t be so bad, though given he’s had two Tommy John surgeries, a two-year, $10-million deal should leave everyone more anxious than a teenager readying for a first kiss. Alas, it’s the going rate.

The trouble is, he’s essentially replacing Kuroda in the rotation, which is a fairly serious step down.

Kuroda will be 37 to start next season, but is arguably coming off his finest year (13-16, 3.07 ERA). He’s getting up in the years, but hasn’t shown signs of slowing down. And he wants to pitch for one more season.

Which will now likely be in Japan. His asking price was apparently out of General Manager Ned Colletti’s price range; the GM seemed to have given up on the possibility of re-signing Kuroda weeks ago. Budget restraints and all. And then there was all that money spent elsewhere (Juan Rivera, $4.5 million).

Now comes Capuano, who had Tommy John surgery in 2002 and again in 2008. He missed all of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and nearly half of 2010.

Continue reading »

Hey, buddy, could you spare an extra starter?

Ned Colletti

Baseball’s annual winter meetings are this weekend in Dallas, but don't look for the Dodgers to exactly be at the hub of activity.

General Manager Ned Colletti is nearing the end of his budget for the 2012 season and he’s still minus two starters for the rotation.

The Dodgers must be on the every-other-year rotation plan. They went into the 2010 season with only four starters, which proved one Charlie Haeger knuckleball away from total disaster. Last year they actually thought they had an extra starter in Vicente Padilla, who managed to throw almost nine innings before ending his season due to injury, surprising no one. And then Jon Garland went down.

For 2012 they currently have Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and two holes. Rookie Nathan Eovaldi may have to fill one slot, but assuming they are unable to bring back Hiroki Kuroda, that still leaves a huge gap. Unless you’re all excited about the return of Dana Eveland.

Between Frank McCourt dropping another $9.9 million in bankruptcy-related expenses (per The Times' Bill Shaikin) just through October and Colletti dropping $4.5 million on Juan Rivera, it doesn’t appear the Dodgers have enough money left to bring back Kuroda. He wants to pitch one more season.

If the Dodgers go the free-agent route, the second-tier starters available are wholly uninspiring. Mike Petriello looked at them and his best, reluctant recommendation is … Jeff Francis?

There is, of course, the trade market. Yet to acquire a quality arm the Dodgers probably would have to give up an Andre Ethier or James Loney, both one year from free agency, simply creating another hole.

Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick previewed the winter meetings by estimating that Colletti had only about $10 million left to work with — and that was before he spent at least $800,000 on utility infielder Adam Kennedy.

Meanwhile, for the rest of baseball, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are still out there.

MORE:

Fox can't put Bud Selig on witness stand, judge rules

Adam Kennedy agrees to one-year deal with Dodgers

Larry King aligns with Dennis Gilbert in Dodgers bidding

— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Ned Colletti. Credit: Morry Gash / Associated Press.

Dodgers close to signing infielder Adam Kennedy

Fabforum

Ned Colletti’s love affair with veteran infielders endures, as the Dodgers are close to signing former Angels playoff star Adam Kennedy, a source said.

The Dodgers have already signed Mark Ellis as their second baseman, but Kennedy would give them a versatile utility infielder.

Kennedy, who turns 36 in January, hit only .234 last season for the Mariners, with weak .277 on-base and .355 slugging percentages.

But defensively, the left-handed hitter played first, second and third base for Seattle.

The former J.W. North-Riverside High School and Cal State Northridge star is best remembered as the second baseman of the Angels who hit three home runs in a playoff game against the Twins and helped lead the club to its only World Series title in 2002.

Last year Colletti signed veteran free-agent infielder Aaron Miles as a non-roster invitee, and the switch-hitter ended up batting .274 in 454 at-bats. The signing of Kennedy would seem to kill the possibility of the free-agent Miles returning.

Terms of Kennedy’s deal with the Dodgers were not immediately known.

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-- Dylan Hernandez and Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Adam Kennedy with the Angels in 2005. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

Dodgers Web musings: Fodder, Prince Fielder, slugger James Loney

Prince-fielder_600

Why so quiet?

Hey, it had to happen sometime. After some early free agent signings and the Cy Young and MVP announcements, there has now actually been a moment of calm for the Dodgers’ front office.

Not completely, of course. There are those ever popular nonroster invitees to locate, and you can bet General Manager Ned Colletti is scouring the waiver wire to find fresh fodder before the winter meetings start next Sunday in Dallas.

He has reportedly already picked up a pair of journeyman arms for the bullpen.

Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi, via a Venezuelan publication, reports the Dodgers are on the verge of signing left-handed reliever Wil Ledzema. And Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy reports, via the Melbourne Aces, they have signed right-hander Shane Lindsay.

Both were signed to minor-league contracts, presumably with invites to the big-league camp, and neither were designed to get you sprinting to the ticket window.

Ledzema will be 31 in January and this will be his eighth team in seven years. Did I mention he was a left-handed reliever? He spent most of last season at triple-A, appearing in five games for the Blue Jays.

Lindsay, who turns 27 in January, has spent all but six innings of his career in the minors.

These are the low-risk, moderate-reward (Mike MacDougal) type offseason signings that Colletti adores, though that would hardly make him unique amongst GMs.

Also on the Web:

--Hey, what if the price tag for free agent Prince Fielder actually managed to come down somewhere within sight of the Dodgers? I mean, like only needing binoculars instead of a telescope.

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman thinks it will take a contract worth about $200 million to nab Fielder.

But ESPN’s Jim Bowden reports there has been so little action on Fielder than some now think he could yet return to Milwaukee.

--Colletti, however, told Mel Antonen of MLB Network Radio last week that James Loney would be his first baseman next season. And, oh yeah, he thought Loney could hit 20-25 home runs.

--The San Francisco Chronicle reprinted a great 1962 column from Charles McCabe on Sunday about how local gamblers suspected that Willie McCovey’s sudden September illness was the work of a nefarious Walter O’Malley and almost led to a great collapse by the Giants.

--To the surprise of no one, Dodgers.com's Ken Gurnick reports the Dodgers did not offer arbitration to any of their remaining seven free agents.

--All his bunting drives Mike Petriello nuts, but he tips his cap to the job Don Mattingly did in a trying rookie season as manager.

--What is it about Boston real estate and its links to the Dodgers? Yahoo Sports’ Ben Maller reports, via the Boston Herald, that after trying to sell his downtown Boston pad for six years, Manny Ramirez finally unloaded it for nearly $300,000 less than he paid for it in 2001.

--Ex-Dodger Bobby Valentine -- ex a lot of teams -- is expected to be named the next Red Sox manager, the Denver Post’s Troy Renck reports.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Slugger Prince Fielder is congratulated by Milwaukee teammates last season after scoring in Game 4 of the NLCS. Credit: Tannen Maury / EPA

Daily Dodger in review: Blake Hawksworth delivers middle ground

Blake-hawksworth_600

BLAKE HAWKSWORTH, 28, reliever

Final 2011 stats: 2-5, 4.08 ERA, 49 games, 1.17 WHIP.

Contract status: Under team control.

The good: Had nice stretches and overall was useful enough as a middle reliever. Appeared in a career-high 49 games, and had personal bests of 7.3 strikeouts and 2.9 walks per nine innings.

Remember, he came in exchange for Ryan Theriot, who was generally a bust and wasn’t going to be brought back anyway after that wondrous signing of Juan Uribe. So any positive contribution was going to be a plus.

Went on the disabled list with a groin strain in the middle of May, which instigated the call-up of Javy Guerra, so I’ll give him some points for that.

The bad: He still had a 2.92 ERA on Aug. 9 when he went through a horrid eight-game stretch (11.88 ERA). Was considered a potential swing man when acquired from the Cardinals for Theriot, but he never did start a game.

He’ll be 29 at the start of next season, so this might be as good as it gets, and that’s OK.

What’s next: He’s out of options and in his final year under team control before becoming eligible for arbitration, so he figures to be back in the bullpen in 2012.

The take: So maybe you didn’t fall madly in love; there was still enough there to keep you interested.

General Manager Ned Colletti has a thing for bringing in journeyman relievers in the off-season, some of whom work out OK (Mike MacDougal) and some of whom who don’t (Lance Cormier). He’ll probably go fishing again this winter, but at least with Hawksworth he has a known arm. And if he stays healthy a full season, may yet have more upside.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Joe Murphy / Getty Images

Daily Dodger in review: The failed gamble on Dioner Navarro

Dioner-navarro_600

DIONER NAVARRO, 27, catcher

Final 2011 stats: .193, five homers, 17 RBI, .276 on-base and .324 slugging percentages, seven errors.

Contract status: Free as a bird.

The good: Two of his five homers won games. Ah, that’s just about it.

The bad: Everything else? OK, that’s a bit harsh, but maybe only a bit.

He could not hit, which apparently came as a surprise to no one but the Dodgers. He was sporadic behind the plate. He did not work hard. He took up space that belonged to A.J. Ellis, who could have used the experience now that he’s in place to be the Dodgers’ primary catcher in 2012. And the Dodgers paid Navarro $1 million, even though one else seemed interested.

What’s next: Navarro is open for business. Of course, he’s been open for business since the Dodgers released him Aug. 23. Wonder if they figured out why no one picked him up?

He’ll only be 28 in February but his career looks over.

The take: Imagine the shock — shock, I say — that Navarro did not pan out. General Manager Ned Colletti has a thing about his backups being veterans (see: Matt Treanor), but this was a poor idea from the moment it formed as the smallest kernel of a thought.

Navarro had one good fluke season in his seven major-league seasons. Otherwise, he’s proven a major disappointment. He hit just .194 for the Rays in 2010, then got churlish about not being added to their postseason roster.

He came back to the Dodgers last season and hit .193. He was a consistent fellow. Though he never proved a problem in the clubhouse, his lack of dedication to his difficult position finally proved his undoing with the Dodgers.

The day after they cut him, Manager Don Mattingly let it be known he was  disappointed Navarro had failed to put in the work and time required to be a good player. So to his list of failings, add work ethic.

Maybe being cut hit home with Navarro, he gets a non-roster invite to some team, puts in the work and makes a club. And maybe not.

— Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dioner Navarro watches his home run soar into the stands in the eighth inning to beat the Houston Astros, 1-0, at Dodger Stadium on June 19. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Dodgers' prospects for re-signing Hiroki Kuroda look dim

Kuroda1

The Dodgers may soon be looking for two new starting pitchers.

The Dodgers were hopeful they would be able to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda for one more season, but budget constraints are apparently about to drive the right-hander elsewhere.

"I think we’re going to have a hard time signing him," Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said Friday.

Kuroda, who turns 37 in April, still has yet to decide whether he wants to return to Japan to pitch next season, though the financial gap between what he wants from the Dodgers and what they are offering could ultimately push him back to his homeland.

Kuroda earned $12 million last season from the Dodgers, going a misleading 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

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Dodgers' Matt Kemp signs historic $160-million contract

Kemp-colletti_600

It's official: Matt Kemp on Friday inked an eight-year, $160-million contract extension with the Dodgers --  the largest deal in National League history.

Wearing a natty gray suit and bow tie, the centerfielder and Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti signed their names to the new contract at a ceremony at Dodger Stadium.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, Kemp's parents and Kemp's agent Dave Stewart were among those in attendance.

"This is very special for me," Kemp told the gathering. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity. Another eight years in L.A., that sounds great."

McCourt, who has agreed to sell the team that's now in bankruptcy reorganization, stood at the podium, turned to Kemp sitting behind him and said, "I just want to tell you I'm proud of you. I'll be watching your progress very, very closely."

Kemp's contract averages $20 million per season, but the Dodgers will pay him only half of that next season -- $10 million, of which $2 million is deferred.

But the contract also has a $2-million signing bonus that will be paid to Kemp next April, so Kemp's income next season effectively will be $10 million, Stewart said. Kemp will receive the deferred $2 million in 2013, Stewart said.

The new contract does not include a no-trade clause, Kemp and Colletti said.

The arrangement gives the Dodgers some financial leeway to sign free agents or otherwise acquire players this off-season who could help improve the club, and Kemp agreed to it because "Matt wanted to give them the flexibility," Stewart said.

Kemp is in contention to win the NL's Most Valuable Player award, to be announced next week, after a season in which he batted .324 with 39 home runs, 126 runs batted in and 40 stolen bases.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Matt Kemp signs his eight-year contract extension as Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti watches Friday at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire

Love, lies, videotape of Dodgers suddenly not pursuing impact bat

Ned3
Romance, such a fleeting thing. Normally not to be trusted too. Once you’ve been down that road a time or two, it comes with inherent suspicion, not that the batting of the eyes and the promises can’t still prove a siren’s call.

Still, you tell yourself to be wary when things sound almost too good to be true, like when Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said at the end of the season in Phoenix that the Dodgers could be in on the free-agent impact bats.

“I think if there’s a player like that out there, we’ll inquire on it,” Colletti said.

And then he said he’d love you forever.

Or at least until six weeks later, when he stopped the cooing and said he really hoped Andre Ethier, Juan Uribe and James Loney hit better, because Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols aren't on the radar.

“As of today, it looks less realistic,’’ Colletti said.

Ah, but we’ll always have Phoenix.

Continue reading »

Dodgers not expected to make run at Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols

Dodgers_600The Dodgers aren’t expecting to make a run at top-line free agents Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols.

Asked Tuesday of the possibility of adding a big bat this winter, General Manager Ned Colletti said, “As of today, it looks less realistic.”

Fielder was at the top of the Dodgers’ wish list at the start of the winter, but Colletti said he has no meetings scheduled with Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, at the general managers meetings in Milwaukee this week.

In fact, the Dodgers’ payroll in 2012 will be less than it was this year, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Dodgers’ payroll was around $110 million last season.

The Dodgers finalized an eight-year, $160-million contract with Matt Kemp on Monday. Colletti wouldn’t confirm the deal, which is expected to be announced in the coming days.

Without a premium bat coming in, Colletti said, “we’re going to have to find other ways to produce runs.”

He said he is counting on Andre Ethier, James Loney and Juan Uribe to produce as they have in seasons past.

“Their seasons weren’t indicative of their careers,” Colletti said.

The Dodgers are closing in on a deal with light-hitting catcher Matt Treanor, according to baseball sources. Treanor would back up A.J. Ellis.

Colletti said he would like to add a backup infielder capable of playing shortstop, but wouldn’t mind starting the season with Justin Sellers as the utility man.

Colletti said he is also looking for a starting pitcher, adding that Hiroki Kuroda hasn’t told him whether he would re-sign with the Dodgers.

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Bill Plaschke: Matt Kemp's new contract is the first step in Dodgers' revival

-- Dylan Hernandez

Left photo: Prince Fielder. Credit: Zia Nizami / Belleville News-Democrat / MCT

Right photo: Albert Pujols. Credit: Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

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