If you thought the Dodgers would be content just signing guys like Chris Heisey and Darwin Barney this offseason, think again.
Now reports are surfacing that one of the crown jewels of the free agent market could be coming to LA. Jon Lester is being wooed by the Dodgers, who seem to be competing with the Cubs, Red Sox, and Giants for the ace left-hander. This is the first we've heard about the Dodgers having a horse in the race, as it was widely believed that those other teams had the best shot.
Who could blame the Dodgers for wanting to sign the guy? His numbers split between the Red Sox and A's last year were fantastic, compiling a 16-11 record with a 2.46 ERA and 220 strikeouts in 219 2/3 innings. He gave the A's everything they could've hoped for when they made the big acquisition for him at the deadline, though losing Yoenis Cespedes in the process may have been a bigger blow than anyone imagined.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what it would take to sign Lester, but one guess is anywhere north of $120 million. Even for the Dodgers, that's some serious cash.
So, what might the Dodgers do if they really do want to keep payroll manageable (for them, at least)? They actually could look to shop Zack Greinke, who has an opt-out clause in his contract following the 2015 season.
Greinke is in the midst of a six-year, $147 million deal, which includes the clause of bolting when it's halfway over. That halfway point will come after 2015, and considering his skill and the demand for top-tier pitching, he could actually roll the dice of getting more money. When he signed with the Dodgers originally, he made no secret of the fact that money played a big role. Hey, at least he admitted the obvious, unlike many others.
I'm not sure I can see that happening, at least not this offseason. In the first link above, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick basically shot any rumor of Greinke being dealt down. Simply put, the Dodgers want to win now, and don't want to subtract stars from their roster.
We'll see where this all goes, but don't be surprised to see Lester in Dodger blue soon. A rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, Lester, and Hyun-Jin Ryu? Ohh.... that sounds too good to be true! Let's hope it isn't!