Baseball Toaster Dodger Thoughts
Jon Weisman's outlet
for dealing psychologically
with the Los Angeles Dodgers
and baseball.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Dodger Thoughts

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

09  08  07 
About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

The Arbitration Rundown
2004-12-08 09:54
by Jon Weisman

Los Angeles continues to seat the rear of the cabin, locking in Elmer Dessens to be a swingman in 2005 for $1.3 million (Tom Martin money) with a mutual option for 2006 and a $250,000 buyout.

It seems to bother a lot of people that the Dodgers are taking care of their scrubs before their frontliners, but it's neither here nor there with me. The order that deals are made doesn't really matter, and even if you think Dessens or Ricky Ledee are getting a few hundred thousand more than they deserve, it won't affect the Dodger pursuit of the big fish.

The biggest fish is still out there: the Dodger offer of salary arbitration to Adrian Beltre keeps those negotiations at the status quo. Again to recap:

  • Players have until December 19 to accept or reject the offer.

  • Acceptance means that the player will return for one year at a figure determined by an arbitrator - usually more than the player would average in a long-term contract, even if the team loses the arbitration hearing.

  • Rejection keeps the door open for negotiations on a free-agent contract until January 8. Should the negotiations end in an impasse, the Dodgers will receive draft pick compensation for any player whom they offered arbitration to.

    In addition to Beltre, Los Angeles extended a laurel and hearty handshake to pitchers Odalis Perez and Wilson Alvarez and catcher Brent Mayne. Perez, like Beltre, seems more likely to hold out for a multiyear deal, which might or might not be with the Dodgers. Alvarez, who has strongly hinted that he likes pitching for the Dodgers and that he might retire after one more season, is very likely to return.

    The Mayne case is peculiar. He has hinted he might already be retired and just hasn't said so, but the presence of a guaranteed contract might well postpone the rocking chair. If Mayne returns, it still doesn't prevent the Dodgers from signing a frontline catcher - it just implies that said catcher would be a right-handed hitter, and that he would displace Dave Ross and Mike Rose. Given that the Dodgers are unlikely to retain three catchers, neither Ross nor Rose has a guaranteed spot on the 2005 roster.

    The decline of arbitration offers to Todd Hundley, Paul Shuey and Robin Ventura are non-events - none figures to play next year, if again. The rejection of Hideo Nomo climaxed just a bit more suspense, because there was the possibility the Dodgers would offer a minimum contract plus incentives to prove himself again. Nomo will now go that route elsewhere, if he goes it at all.

    That leaves Steve Finley, Jose Hernandez and Jose Lima. By placing them down here, I'm burying the top story. But it's somewhat deliberate, because too much angst has been invested in the fate of these three players.

    Look, the Dodgers needed all three of these players last season to win the National League West last season. And all three, while aging, could easily have at least one more good year left in them - which is the maximum that offering salary arbitration guarantees.

    If, in the end, in February, or April, or July even, the Dodgers come away with less talent than these three have to offer, then it will have been a mistake not to have pursued them further. If, in the end, any of these three sign contracts that would have fit nicely into the Dodger payroll, then it also will have been a mistake to let them go.

    Keep in mind, though, that many, many teams have declined to offer arbitration to players like these. Lima and Hernandez are perfect examples of this phenomenon - this is how they were available before the 2004 season for the Dodgers to sign. Remember - nobody wanted them. The pool remains deep.

    Ask yourself whether Finley (39), Hernandez (35) and Lima (32), who bucked aging to register improved seasons in 2004, are likely to buck the trend again in 2005 - all while earning more money.

    Maybe, in the end, the answer will be yes. But for now, resist. Resist the urge to judge these moves until you see who their replacements are.

  • Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.