Sunday, December 2, 2012

Taking a look at Greinke and The Beard

There hasn't been much movement on the Dodgers front lately, which is a huge change from the hectic pace that saw them grab one player after another towards the end of the 2012 season.  But there are two big free agent pitchers being discussed, so let's take a look at both of them.

Zach Greinke - There's no doubt that the Alpha Dog of the free agent starters this offseason is Greinke.  He split his time between the Brewers and Angels last season, going 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.  He also is a strikeout machine, K'ing 200 in 212 1/3 innings.  He won the Cy Young Award in 2009 with the Royals, posting one of the sickest seasons you'll ever see (16-8, 2.17, 1.07, 242).

What is also is no doubt is the type of contract he'll command.  It'll easily be nine figures, which you have to figure is already scaring some teams off.  But don't forget, these are the new Dodgers, and money is of little to no object.  So, let the bidding wars begin.

If the Dodgers somehow do get Greinke, he'll make a great 1-2 punch with Clayton Kershaw.  Throw in a rejuvenated Josh Beckett, a hopefully healthy Chad Billingsley, and possibly Korean lefty Ryu Hyun-Jin, and the Dodgers suddenly have a deep pitching staff.  It's hard not to get excited about that.

What can't be ignored is the Dodgers' history of giving starting pitchers long-term deals.  Kevin Brown?  Flopped.  Jason Schmidt?  Abysmal.  To Ned Colletti's credit, he's been gun shy about dishing out those deals ever since then.  And who can blame him?  So, there's always a risk with dishing out such huge contracts.

If the Greinke thing doesn't work out, look for Kyle Lohse to be pursued, and even another run at Ryan Dempster.

Brian Wilson - In a surprising move (at least to me), the Giants chose to non-tender closer Brian Wilson, who was out practically the entire 2012 season with Tommy John surgery.  It was a big blow at the time, but we all know the Giants found a way to figure things out anyway, winning the World Series.  I really hate saying that.

Pre-elbow problems, Wilson was one of the top closers in baseball, and may have even been the best at one point.  In the 2010 championship season, he saved 48 games with a 1.18 ERA, plus 93 K's in 74 2/3 innings.  He followed that up with 36 saves in 2011 before the elbow injury hit this past year.

Let's say the Dodgers do sign Wilson, who supposedly would favor pitching in LA since he lives there in the offseason.  I would look at him as someone who pays off as the year progresses.  A bullpen down the stretch of Wilson, Ronald Belisario, Brandon League, and Kenley Jansen would be awesome.  The Dodgers would still need to add a lefty arm or two, but that's some serious heat late in games.

Granted, it would be really weird to watch him pitch for the Dodgers at first.  I won't go so far to say it would be like watching Mariano Rivera pitch for the Red Sox, but it's the same idea.  But let's remember the Giants chose not to keep him, so now anything goes.  That definitely includes The Beard pitching in Dodger blue.

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