Free Agents Who Should Be High On Los Angeles Dodgers’ Wish List
It is of no surprise to anyone who followed the Dodgers’ lackluster campaign in 2012 that the main spot the front office needs to address in the offseason is pitching.
Other than Clayton Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation was inconsistent and extremely streaky.
While the Dodgers did post the third highest staff ERA in the Major Leagues, problems within the starting five held them back from their playoff hopes.
Chris Capuano started the year off on fire, but then fell off the face of the Earth in the second half. Following the All-Star break, Capuano’s 3-8 record and 4.76 ERA were among the worst in the National League.
Chad Billingsley’s injuries plagued him all season and may even keep him out of the 2013 season entirely.
Aaron Harang didn’t really do terribly, but he never really dominated any games or made a huge impact.
Blanton is now a free agent and likely will not be resigned after his poor performance in LA.
The “Blue Crew” had some trouble closing out games as well. With 19 total blown saves LA will have to invest in some help for Kenley Jansen in the bullpen.
The bright side is new acquisition Josh Beckett looked great towards the end of the season, and the Dodgers have the money to grab some quality pitching in free agency this winter.
So who should be on the Dodgers’ wish list this offseason?
Here are a few guys who would fit right into the Dodgers’ roster in 2013.
Zack Greinke, SP
Zack Greinke will clearly be the most highly sought after starting pitcher of the offseason.
His career numbers speak for themselves, and at almost 29-years-old, teams will definitely look for Greinke to be their ace for the future.
If the Angels are unable to resign Greinke, he will quickly become the Dodgers’ top priority.
Following the July trade that sent Greinke from Milwaukee to Anaheim, the 2009 NL Cy Young winner struggled. In his first five starts in red and white, Greinke gave up at least four runs in four of them.
Since that point, the Orlando, Florida native finished the year 5-0, and allowed more than two runs only once through eight starts.
The Dodgers are one of the few teams in the MLB that has the money to offer Greinke the long term deal he wants, and they will capitalize on the chance to get him if available.
Kyle Lohse, SP
Coming off the best season of his career, Kyle Lohse is headed toward the open market following the Cardinals playoff run.
In 2012, Lohse was electric for St. Louis. The 34-year-old pitcher finished the season 16-3, and the Cardinals won 22 of the 35 games he started.
Lohse seems to have turned the corner off an up and down career with his play over the past two seasons and will most likely attract a lot of attention this offseason.
The concern for Lohse will be his age and lack of postseason success.
The Dodgers won’t be willing to dish out too lengthy of a deal for an aging pitcher who has a career postseason record of 1-4 with a 4.42 ERA in six starts.
However, if Lohse has in fact turned the corner and this season is telling of what is to come for another few years, the Dodgers would be wise to return the Chico native back to California.
At the three or four spot in the rotation, Lohse could have a ton a upside for a reasonable price.
James Shields, SP
While the likelihood of acquiring James Shields in the offseason is not that high, it is also not that far-fetched.
After exercising their option on James Shields for the 2012 season, the Tampa Bay Rays now face a similar decision. If the Rays want to bring him back in 2013, they will have to shell out $9 million—which is relatively low for the numbers he produces—as opposed to the $1.5 million it would cost Tampa Bay to buy out his contract.
However, in the chance that the Rays can’t afford Shields and choose to go in another direction, the Dodgers will surely look into grabbing Shields.
With 223 strikeouts and 15 wins on the season, Shields would be a perfect fit right behind ace Clayton Kershaw.
Shields has also proven he can consistently pitch deep into games as well, which would be huge for a Dodgers team that has shown some inconsistency closing out games.
Switching out of the mighty AL East will only help his numbers, and Shields has the potential to dominate in the National League. Shields would be a no-brainer addition for GM Ned Colletti.
Shaun Marcum, SP
One of the smartest moves the Dodgers can make this offseason would be to snatch up Shaun Marcum off free agency.
Marcum has been extremely consistent throughout his career in the majors and would not cost the Dodgers too much money.
In six years with the Blue Jays and Brewers, Marcum has posted a losing record only once and has kept his ERA below four in each of his past four seasons.
An elbow injury held Marcum back in 2012, but the Dodgers have had recent success adding aging pitchers with previous injuries such as Capuano and Harang.
If Los Angeles is able to snag Marcum for around a two-year deal worth approximately $15-18 million, they will also most likely have an opportunity to make another splash in the offseason, meaning bringing back Brandon League or adding some more relief help.
Brandon League, RP
While this may be cheating a little bit because he played this past season in Los Angeles, Brandon League is still hitting the free agency market, and the men in blue should still pick him up.
In 27.1 innings with the Dodgers, League allowed just seven earned runs and 17 hits.
As Kenley Jansen faced heart issues, League stepped up and made some huge saves down the stretch to help keep the Dodgers in the playoff race.
With Jansen’s heart surgery yet to be scheduled, questions arise whether or not the closer will be ready for the season opener.
League, who had 37 saves back with the Mariners in 2011, would be a cheap and solid option at closer in 2013.
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Article also on Bleacher Report (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1371317-free-agents-who-should-be-high-on-los-angeles-dodgers-wish-list)