I post about this every year on this day, and I’m not sure why I would stop now: happy birthday to the best there is and ever will be. Every additional year we get with Vin is a gift, especially now that he’s on a year-to-year basis and we never know when might be his last.
I was largely out of the loop yesterday due to day job related business, so I think I missed a lot of derpitude about this tidbit from ESPN’s Mark Saxon that the Dodgers had “inquired” about Kyle Lohse, which turned into this tweet saying they were “showing interest,” which then turned into an MLB Trade Rumors story, because that’s what MLBTR does.
This all makes for a good opportunity to step back and remember the media rules of the offseason, which is that 99% of rumors are fake. In this case, it’s not even a “rumor”, because the story here is apparently that the Dodgers placed a phone call. The Dodgers, like every organization, would not be doing due diligence if they didn’t at least reach out to anyone on their radar. There’s nothing here that indicates the call was anything more than ringing up Lohse’s agent and saying “wait, he really wants more than $40 and a bus ticket, even though he’s inconsistent, overrated, injury-prone, and would cost a first round pick? Yeah, good luck with that.”
Or it could go the other way, in which the Dodgers just want to remind Zack Greinke – who is their true target – that they have other options should his demands get too unreasonable. The point is, these things may be enough to get Twitter in a fury, but it’s far from appropriate to pillage the Dodgers as though Lohse is headed to the park to sign a contract. (Which, in case I haven’t been clear, would be awful.)
I have sources too, and it’s of course up to you as to whether you want to trust me or not, but I’ve been assured that the Dodgers have little true interest in Lohse. I’m not worried about it. You shouldn’t be either.
The Dodgers aren’t going to sign Lohse, but they are going to sign at least two pitchers, and perhaps three. I still firmly believe they’ll end up with Greinke (my current estimate is now 6/140 with an option for a seventh year) and the only conceivable way they’re not ending up with Hyun-jin Ryu is if they somehow manage to get Greinke and another starter like Anibal Sanchez or James Shields. I don’t think even the new Dodgers are crazy enough to pay to get Greinke and Sanchez – especially not with Clayton Kershaw‘s free agency looming – and they just don’t have the prospects to get Shields. Ryu’s made it clear he wants to pitch in America, his Korean team obviously wants the posting fee… there’s like a 95% chance this is getting done.
But who else? Brandon League may be back in the fold, but Jamey Wright & Randy Choate aren’t, and it’s likely the team adds at least one veteran reliever. Tim Brown of Yahoo! reports that likely non-tender Brian Wilson would like to pitch for the Dodgers. Whether that’s true or not, I can’t say, though unlike many of you, I don’t really care that he’s an ex-Giant. (Juan Uribe‘s terrible because he’s terrible, not because he used to play in San Francisco.) Even if he would like to join the Dodgers, it doesn’t matter unless the team has some interest, and I doubt they will – Wilson’s unlikely to pitch until mid-2013 at the earliest anyway, given that he had Tommy John surgery on April 19 of this season. Besides, if we want a former closer coming off a zipper, a more reasonable target might be Joakim Soria, who I’m quite sure the team has had some contact with.
Another fun option comes courtesy of ESPN’s Jayson Stark, who reports that the Angels are making Jordan Walden available, and while this of course falls under the “don’t believe everything you read” category we just discussed, it’s a lot more fun to think about than Lohse. A 25-year-old flamethrower with a career 10.83 K/9, 2.80 FIP, 3.06 ERA, and some assorted control problems? Yes. Please.
Obviously, trades between the two clubs are rare, though it’s well-known that the Angels need starting pitching. Assuming Greinke & Ryu land, would I trade an excess starter like Aaron Harang or Ted Lilly and a mid-level prospect for Walden? You’re damn right I would. The only problem there is that it might be an excuse for Ned Colletti to dream on Vernon Wells as his answer to the ongoing need of a righty bat who can play multiple outfield positions, and that’s of course terrifying. However, I do like Walden..
Today’s a big day simply because of Vin’s birthday, but don’t forget that tomorrow has a lot of significance as well, given that it’s the end of the exclusive Fox negotiating period for a new television deal. It was reported the other day that they’d strike a deal between $6 – $7 billion, and maybe they will, but I wouldn’t be so sure. As I noted on Twitter on Tuesday, players almost always get bigger deals when they reach free agency and can field offers from many teams. The same principle applies here; what’s to stop the Dodgers from shopping these rights around and getting more? For the record, I never believed Nikki Finke’s insistence that Fox would drop out if they didn’t get a deal done by tomorrow – it just doesn’t make sense. Is $8 billion out of the question? $9 billion? It all sounds absurd, and it is, but just remember the shock around baseball at the original report, and then imagine what it’ll be like if they actually top that. (Borrowed that GIF at the right from good friend “EephusBlue”, and it couldn’t be more appropriate.)