Remember This Day in December

Hiroki Kuroda, perhaps at the peak of his value after last night’s gem, was claimed on waivers by the Padres, who could badly use a veteran starter.

Ted Lilly, who’s been brilliant since coming to the Dodgers except for his last start, was claimed on waivers by the Yankees, who have serious depth issues in the rotation.

Yet the Dodgers, in their infinite wisdom, decided to trade neither one, meaning they’re doing exactly what I begged them not to last week: they’re doing this half-assed. They have a 4.1% chance of making the playoffs, and they just dumped their best hitter on the White Sox, yet they’re acting like they’re primed for a playoff push.

This isn’t a Manny situation, where getting a decent prospect was unlikely for a variety of reasons. Kuroda & Lilly each have true real-world value, and while they wouldn’t return A++ prospects, they would have more than likely brought back players worth developing for the future.

Now, some will say that the Dodgers kept them with the intention of retaining them for next year. Oh yeah? Kuroda makes $13m this year, Lilly $12m. They’re each pitching well. You really think that they’re getting massive paycuts if offered arbitration? Of course they’re not – by rule, they can’t take more than a 20% cut -  and that means that there’s no prayer that the Dodgers will even bother to offer.

Not that I think they can afford to sign either to a long-term contract either, but if that’s their plan, they would still have the opportunity to have done so even if they had traded one of them today.

So what we have now is a mediocre team playing out the stretch, unable to see the truth, deluded that they’re contenders, who just gave up a chance to improve the future for the small glory of finishing five games out rather than eight. And I’m just talking about Kuroda and Lilly for the moment; Octavio Dotel, George Sherrill, and Scott Podsednik should have gone as well.

Remember this on December 1, as the arbitration deadline passes with Kuroda and Lilly not having received offers. Remember how mad we were about Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson last year? This is going to be worse.

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Hey, I have a new article at Baseball Prospectus up. It’s a quick look at prospects who will be called up in September who might have a fantasy impact. No Dodgers, sadly, unless you really think A.J. Ellis‘ time is now.

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  2. [...] did get claimed, and the next day I begged Colletti to swallow his pride and start selling in August for what he could get: Hiroki Kuroda, perhaps at the peak of his value after last [...]