Winter Meetings, Day 4 (Updated)

Today’s the last day of the winter meetings; thanks for following along. Today is also the Rule 5 draft, and it actually started a few minutes ago.  Let’s get right to the overnight news, and as usual I’ll update this throughout the day.

Update, 9:20am PT:

Jon Heyman with news that’s simultaneously cool and terrifying…

teams most aggressive on greinke are #rangers, #brewers, #dodgers, #bluejays, #nats

I think I’ve said this before, but I just can’t see it. I wouldn’t trade Kershaw for Greinke, and the other Dodger starters don’t make sense. Would a package built around Jerry Sands and Dee Gordon be enough? Probably not, and even if it was, should the Dodgers really be trading offense for more starting pitching?

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Update, 7:56am PT:

Dylan Hernandez with obvious news

#Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said he is looking to add a right-handed hitter who can play left field.

Goddamn right. But who? Matt Diaz and Jeff Francoeur are off the board. We’ve heard rumors of interest in Bill Hall and Austin Kearns. I like Hall, but I’d like him better as an around-the-field utility man; he looks a lot less interesting as just a left fielder. I’d almost prefer Lastings Milledge, I think. If you’re into big offense from older, injury-prone, terrible-fielding players who ought to be a DH – i.e., the Manny role – there’s also Magglio Ordonez, who had a 130 OPS+ last year with Detroit. But he won’t come cheap and he’ll be 37 in January – and as I was surprised to find out today, has never played a single inning in left field. He’s been a RF his entire career, and really should stay in the American League.

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Original post:

Rule 5 draft…

Dylan Hernandez reports the Dodgers have decided not to select anyone, and that no Dodger prospects were selected in the major-league portion. Minor-leaguer Jamie Ortiz, who neither Dylan nor I have heard of, was lost to the Marlins. (Research shows he’s a 1B who was a 7th-round pick in 2006, and had a .742 OPS as a 21-year-old in low-A ball last year. Snooze.) Minor league catcher Jesse “Fausto” Mier went to Texas, and he had a .686 OPS as a 25-year-old in AA last year. Double snooze. Minor league pitcher Matthew Sartor went to the Giants; he has good K stuff (10.5/9 career), but also had a 1.568 WHIP in A/AA last year, and he’s already 26. Snooze x3.

Tony Jackson:

The Dodgers also remain open to re-signing left fielder Scott Podsednik, who declined his half of a $2 million mutual option after the season but apparently hasn’t found as much of a market for his services as he had hoped.

The club still needs an every-day left fielder despite having signed first baseman-outfielder Jay Gibbons, who will be their primary left-handed pinch hitter, and having agreed in principle on a one-year, $675,000 deal with Tony Gwynn Jr., who will be a backup outfielder.

I know that the winter meetings are all about lies, but Jackson is one of the reporters that I have a good deal of respect for. Besides, who’d bother to lie about Scott Podsednik anyway? So that means I think there’s at least some truth to this, and if so, it’s completely mind-blowing. Even if the Dodgers had zero outfielders, Podsednik’s not a good option; he was less than impressive after arriving last year, and at 35 he’s unlikely to develop power and defense, or sustain on-base skills.

But of course, it’s not just that Podsednik is somewhat useless which is the problem here; it’s that under no circumstances should the Dodgers be going after another lefty outfielder. Even before they signed Gwynn I wanted two righties to platoon with Gibbons and Ethier, but now that Gwynn’s in the mix (and don’t forget Xavier Paul) signing another lefty would just be astoundingly stupid. You’re really only going to have one righty outfielder? You’re going to let tough lefty pitchers eat up everyone else? I’m not going to freak out about this too much if only because there’s absolutely no way it’ll happen, but still: sheesh.

Jackson:

Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said his team still has an interest in re-signing Russell Martin as a multiple-position player even with two other catchers apparently already in the fold, but that Martin, a former Gold Glove catcher, likely won’t get much time behind the plate if he does re-sign with the club.

However, with media reports having surfaced that Martin is being pursued by the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Colorado Rockies — all of whom presumably would want him to catch on at least a semi-regular basis — there now appears to be little to no chance that Martin will return.

This is another idea that kind of makes no sense at all. I was hardly Martin’s biggest fan over the last two years, but I admitted that the poor state of catching in general meant he still had value. If he comes back, that’s fine – perhaps even good, if your alternatives are Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro – but you just can’t bring him back to not catch. His bat plays at catcher because catchers can’t hit; putting his subpar offense at other positions (positions we don’t even know if he can really play) just wouldn’t work. That said, it doesn’t sound like there’s much chance of him returning anyway.

Eric Stephen at TrueBlueLA gives some numbers to an issue I’ve been harping on for weeks….

So far this offseason, the Dodgers have signed five offensive players:

Gwynn and Navarro are pending physicals, but will be official soon enough. Anyway, in 2010 those five hitters combined to hit .233/.299/.395 in 1,475 plate appearances.

Yep. And that doesn’t even take into account returning guys with lousy 2010 OBP, like Casey Blake, James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Jay Gibbons. I’m really going to have to start a “free Jamey Carroll!” campaign just to see some on-base percentage next year, aren’t I?

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