Brad Penny's 2009 option was not picked up by the Dodgers, as they have instead bought him out for $2 million on Wednesday. Today, he officially filed for free agency.
While the Dodgers could have exercised his $9.25 million option for next season, I think they did the right thing in cutting ties with him. He came off of the consecutive All-Star Game appearances in '06 and '07, and was primed to lead the Dodgers' staff this season.
But, the wheels clearly fell off the bus. He started on Opening Day and beat the San Francisco Giants (well, I could have beat them too...), but everything went downhill soon after. Lingering shoulder problems meant 3 different trips to the DL, and he was not even close to the same pitcher as before.
In all, he finished at 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA. Ouch. His fastball didn't have nearly the pop it had in the past, and it was obvious he wasn't physically right. A history of arm problems doesn't exactly help his cause as he gets older.
The oddest thing about the end of the Penny Era in LA was the end of this season. For those of you that don't remember, he was apparently so angry about being left off the postseason roster that he flat out packed up his locker and left. And with that, he was not seen once during the playoffs. I remember Joe Torre saying at one point that it was a mutual decision, so who knows what really happened. But that was the icing on the cake.
With Penny gone, Greg Maddux to likely retire, and Derek Lowe probably gone as well, the Dodgers are left with a thin rotation. Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Clayton Kershaw are the top 3, with James McDonald and (don't laugh) Jason Schmidt possibly in the mix. They could use another stud to solidify the rotation.
Hmm..... C.C. Sabathia???