When the Angels signed reliever Joe Smith to a three-year, $15m deal last week, it was met with some confusion around baseball. Smith’s a fine reliever, durable and all that, but he’s not really elite at anything, and we should all know by now how three-year deals for relievers usually work out. (This is basically what I said about him when i was on Clubhouse Confidential last Monday.) He’ll help what was a poor Angels bullpen, but it just seemed like an overpay and an odd use of resources when the team needs starting pitching just as badly.
Well, thanks to J.P. Hoornstra, we know that the Angels weren’t quite off the mark, because other teams had offered Smith three years too… and while the Dodgers weren’t among them, they did make an offer.
This came from Smith himself on a conference call, so we can take it at face value to be reasonably true. So we can take two things away from this:
1) The Dodgers, really, really want to add a veteran reliever, and:
If that’s the case, maybe that’s why they’re potentially (and, important to note, potentially not) entertaining the idea of greatly overpaying for a single year of Jim Johnson is preferable than extending for three years on someone like Smith. (Or maybe “generic righty relievers with even more generic names” is the new market inefficiency. Who knows.)
Either way, we can safely assume that the 2014 Dodgers will be taking at least one pitcher with them to Australia who isn’t currently on the roster. Maybe that’s as simple as bringing back Brian Wilson; more likely, it’s someone else. Place your bets now.