The speculation came true, as the Dodgers have non-tendered Takashi Saito, officially making him a free agent. He's now eligible to sign with any team, including the Dodgers.
Based on the Elias Rankings, Saito is the best NL reliever of the past 2 years. But, his elbow injury suffered in the 2nd half of last season made the Dodgers not want to commit too much to him, obviously wary of his health and not wanting to sign damaged goods again, ala Jason Schmidt. It's unfortunate because Saito is brilliant when he's on, but that ship looks to have been sailed.
It's not like the Dodgers didn't offer a contract, because they did. They wanted him to sign for $2.5 million with incentives. Saito's people, however, wanted $3.5 million, which is the amount his value would have increased to had he been offered arbitration. I wonder if we'd even be having this conversation if he didn't look so atrocious in his playoff appearance against the Cubs. But he did, and here we are.
Where do the Dodgers go from here? With Saito highly unlikely to come back, Jonathan Broxton is now the closer. His stuff is fantastic, but I think there's still some hesitation to just hand the job over to him since he's been a big shaky at it in the past. Corey Wade had a great year, so he may get his chances as well. Hong-Chih Kuo would be an easy choice, but with his bad arm history, there's no way he can go out there day after day.
So, if you look at my previous post, that could leave the Dodgers making a run at Trevor Hoffman. Right about now, that looks like a good option. If anything, it gives them another option in the 'pen that can get the job done. I think the Dodgers should seriously consider making an offer to him.