Manny confirms he’ll be back, others file for free agency.
Our beloved Los Angeles Dodgers may have some new faces come April 2010. Then again, they may not.
Now that the baseball season has wrapped up, players are making various moves setting themselves up to test the waters of free agency. Here’s a guide for Santa Clarita baseball fans about each player whose contract is up.
Will be back:
The on-again, off-again slugger had what you might call a disappointing year, serving a 50-game suspension and never regaining form afterward. He announced over the weekend that he has exercised his $20 million contract for the 2010 season. Although even with Manny back, look to see Juan Pierre more often as MLB.com reports that Manny’s negotiating for more time off during the year. (Apparently not hustling in left field really leaves him drained.)
Have filed for free agency:
A late season acquisition, Padilla and his right arm struck gold in California. He put up tremendous numbers for a Dodger’s club that sorely needed him, going 4-0 and putting up two dominant starts in the post season. Padilla has filed for free agency, and the Dodgers are likely interested.
Having served as the most consistent force in the Dodger starting rotation, Randy Wolf seems to be prepping for yet another year of uncertainly. He proved that he can fit in to just about any major league roster, and even look like an all-star when compared to the Dodger’s other pitchers.
One of three Dodger all-stars, Hudson had a remarkably good first half, only to slip down the stretch. He was replaced by the hot-hitting Ronnie Belliard during the playoffs, and there’s no telling what that has done for his confidence (or for his excitement to be a Dodger.)
He came on hot after his late-season acquisition, but the deal was a short one, and now Belliard is on the market.
As a backup catcher, Ausmus didn’t see a whole lot of playing time. When he did, he was fantastic, batting .295. But perhaps Ausmus’ most cherished attribute is his veteran influence. Last year he had a major impact on Russell Martin and the young pitching staff. Look for the Dodgers to get serious with him, and hope that he doesn’t retire.
Thome was another late pickup, designed to give the club some pop in the pinch hitting role. He is strictly a bat, nothing more, so look for his interests to wane toward the American League in a designated hitter role.
Hailed as a pretty good pickup midway through the season, Garland brought a starting pitcher to the club when we desperately needed one. However, mediocre outings coupled with the return of Hiroki Kuroda and the signing of Vicente Padilla forced Garland to the back of the stage.
Weaver was the go-to emergency man for the first part of the season, and can fill just about any hole in the pitching staff. Long relief, starter, veteran reliever, you name it.
Mota was pretty strong throughout the season, although he spent the last portion out due to a non-throwing injury. Mota fit in where he needed to in a very strong bullpen, but there were others who worked more than he did.
Other free agency filers include pitcher Eric Milton and utility player Doug Mientkiewicz.
Can still file for free agency:
Aside from Juan Pierre, Loretta was the best pinch hitter in the Dodger dugout. He fit in well to that position, which included a game winning pinch hit against the Cardinals in the Divisional Series. Loretta also served as a worthy defensive replacement for James Loney at 1st base.
I doubt Schmidt has any fans in Los Angeles. After paying out just under $50 million to get the star pitcher three years ago, Schmidt returned the favor by suffering a nagging injury that allowed him to start just six paltry games in the 2007 season. After missing all of 2008, Schmidt again started the 2009 season on the DL. His triumphant return saw a vastly different pitcher than before, and his stuff just wasn’t there. Luckily he didn’t have to fizzle out with a bunch of lopsided losses; Schmidt got hurt again and was written off. It is doubtful that he will ever pitch again, and look for Schmidt to vanish into the history books (as a Giant, not a Dodger).
Other players still able to file for free agency include back up shortstop Juan Castro and left handed pitcher Will Ohman, who was hurt most of his inaugural year as a Dodger.
Definitely back next season: (unless traded)
- Russell Martin
- James Loney
- Rafael Furcal
- Casey Blake
- Manny Ramirez
- Matt Kemp
- Andre Ethier
- Juan Pierre
- Chad Billingsley
- Hiroki Kuroda
- Clayton Kershaw
- Jonathan Broxton
- George Sherrill
- Ronald Bellisarrio
- Ramon Troncoso
- Hung Chi Kuo
- Joe Torre