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As Green Packs ...
2005-01-03 10:36
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Since it seems pretty clear that Shawn Green is leaving, coming desert or high water ... once more with feeling, the updated Dodger player payroll (some salaries are estimates):

Starting Rotation
$7,750,000 Jeff Weaver
$5,000,000 Brad Penny
$3,230,000 Kazuhisa Ishii
$1,300,000 Elmer Dessens
$325,000 Edwin Jackson

Bullpen
$7,500,000 Eric Gagne
$2,000,000 Wilson Alvarez
$500,000 Giovanni Carrara
$325,000 Duaner Sanchez
$325,000 Yhency Brazoban
$316,000 D.J. Houlton (or whomever)

Starting Lineup
$11,000,000 J.D. Drew
$8,000,000 Jeff Kent
$3,500,000 Jose Valentin
$3,000,000 Milton Bradley
$1,300,000 Cesar Izturis
$350,000 Hee Seop Choi
$350,000 Jayson Werth
$325,000 Dave Ross
Bench
$1,250,000 Ricky Ledee
$650,000 Olmedo Saenz
$325,000 Jason Grabowski
$316,000 Antonio Perez
$316,000 Mike Rose or Dioner Navarro
$316,000 Cody Ross (or whoever)

Disabled List
$13,000,000 Darren Dreifort

$72,569,000* Total
* Does not include any portion of Shawn Green's salary that the Dodgers might commit to paying.

There's money to spend, folks.

I feel as strongly as ever that the Dodgers should have signed Adrian Beltre. I have injury fears, however rational or irrational, about J.D. Drew. At the same time, I don't hate the Dodger starting lineup. It doesn't have a huge power hitter in the form of Beltre, but at the same time, there are six players who could hit 20 or more home runs. The team could reasonably hit 160 home runs next season. Not as good as last season's 203, but not horrible.

It's the starting pitching that remains in clear need of strengthening. You can't possibly imagine simultaneous quality seasons from Weaver, Penny, Ishii, Jackson and Elmer Dessens or Wilson Alvarez.

Derek Lowe? Last season ended a six-year run of park-adjusted ERAs better than the league average. That should have lowered his price, but his wonderful postseason, combined with the dearth of free agent pitchers, buoyed his salary demands. His walks are ample, his strikeouts much less so. He would certainly fit into the current Dodger rotation, but he is a prime case study for the question, "Just because you have money to spend and a need to spend, should you spend?"

Lowe could pull a Jeff Weaver and lower his ERA coming to the National League. Still, I'm not at all convinced that Lowe is better (or more affordable) than someone like Odalis Perez, for example. And I'm not at all convinced that locking up Lowe for three years, when Jackson (still only 21), Greg Miller, Joel Hanrahan, and so on and so on remain exciting prospects, in trade value if not actual value in a Dodger uniform, that we won't feel like it the dollars spent on Lowe were a waste by July.

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