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Bradley Avoids Arbitration - Perez Returning?
2005-01-04 15:51
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Here's the Milton Bradley press release; he and the Dodgers avoid arbitration with a one-year contract. Dodger Thoughts commenter Saul also says Peter Gammons is reporting that the Dodgers have resigned Odalis Perez. To be updated ...

Update: Bradley will get $2.5 million, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, $500,000 less than my estimate. As for Perez, "the club," Gurnick writes, "denied reports that a deal had been struck with Perez, who went 7-6 with a 3.25 ERA in 31 games (all starts) for the Dodgers in 2004. But it is believed an announcement could come as soon as a proposed trade of (Shawn) Green to the Arizona Diamondbacks becomes official."

Update 2: I've taken a gamble that the Green and Perez transactions will happen, and incorporated them into my estimate of the 2005 Dodger player payroll that I posted on the sidebar.

Perez should be welcomed back - despite his postseason meltdown, which might or might not turn out to be a learning experience, he is a quality pitcher. While the dearth of free-agent alternatives no doubt increased his salary demands, his reported contract is not an obvious overpayment. A team with better starters could let him go by on the baggage carousel. A team like the Dodgers needed to make a grab - and Perez is a better piece of baggage to take a flyer on than many others. His contract is well in line with free-agent deals made days and weeks ago.

The team is already looking better, with Dessens moved into the bullpen where he belongs (at best). He and Wilson Alvarez can serve as sixth and seventh starting pitchers to back up the fragile rotation - not that the current rotation is in cement, yet.

The most obvious weakness remains catcher, but the team could simply use more overall strengthening at most spots. Payroll is now at approximately $80 million.

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