Winter Meetings, Day One (Updated)

Update, 3:23pm PST:

And there it is. According to Ken Rosenthal, Hairston is done for 2/$6m. But there’s also this:

#Dodgers still working on Harang. Deal expected to be north of Capuano. Two years, $12M range

You know why? WINS AND ERA. Harang wasn’t better than Capuano last year. But he’s getting paid like he was because he had more wins and a lower ERA. Aaaaaaand head asplode.

Update, 3:03pm PST:

More fun! The Dodgers reportedly have a two-year offer out to utilityman Jerry Hairston, Jr. In theory, I don’t mind this, because unlike Adam Kennedy, Hairston has some offensive value and can play all over. But what’s with all of the two-year deals? Capuano got two. Mark Ellis got two. Harang reportedly will get two. Hairston, now, might have two. I’d say that Ned Colletti was looking to take next winter off entirely… if not for the fact that I desperately hope that’s happening regardless.

Update, 2:16pm PST:

Ken Gurnick at dodgers.com with news of two additional non-roster invites in addition to Shane Lindsay and Wil Ledezma, who we already knew about: pitcher Jose Ascanio and infielder Jeff Baisley. I’d be lying if I said I’d ever heard of either. Baisley, 29 this month, is a corner infielder who had a brief cup of coffee with the 2008 A’s, but has otherwise spent the last four years inflating his stats in the rarified air of the PCL. Ascanio, 27 in May, has seen big-league time in 46 games over parts of four seasons with the Pirates, Cubs, and Braves. In 30 games (five starts) for Pittsburgh’s Triple-A club in 2011, he struck out 50 in 44 innings, so that’s something. More Albuquerque fodder.

Update, 12:31pm PST:

All sorts of reports are landing that the Dodgers are nearing a deal with Aaron Harang. We’ll see how the dollar figures land before we judge; Harang was pretty bad outside of Petco last year, but you just cannot start the season with Nathan Eovaldi in the rotation. (Also, I suppose this answers the Hoffmann waiver as well.)

Also, hey, Harang, Ted Lilly, and Chris Capuano in the same rotation? Man, this team is totally going to win that 2006 wild card.

Update, 12:13pm PT:

Well, here’s a thing: per the official Colorado Rockies Twitter, the Dodgers have lost outfielder Jamie Hoffmann on waivers to their division rivals. This is the second time the Dodgers have said goodbye to Hoffmann, who was claimed by the Yankees in the 2010 Rule 5 draft before being returned before the end of camp. I’ve always felt that Hoffmann could have been useful as a reserve outfielder with a little pop who could play solid defense at all three positions, but he never really got a chance with the big club despite plenty of turnover around Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.

The 40-man roster was full until Hoffmann was lost, and today was the deadline to set the 40-man before Thursday’s Rule 5 draft, making it possible the Dodgers are setting up for a claim. That, or another free agent signing, I suppose.

Update, 10:05am PT:

Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports the Dodgers are close to signing former Baltimore & Arizona reliever Alberto Castillo to a minor-league deal. In 79 MLB games over parts of the last four seasons, he’s got a 5.02 FIP and 1.78 K/BB, so he’ll be Triple-A filler at best. Despite his limited MLB experience, he’ll turn 37 next July; after some minor league time in the Giants & Yankees systems from 1994-98, he didn’t turn up again in American affiliated baseball until 2008.

Update, 9:50am PT:

This isn’t really a winter meetings rumor, but still fun to share. John Sickels has released his top 20 Dodger prospect list over at Minor League Ball, and to no one’s surprise Zach Lee tops the chart. Sadly, neither Tim Federowicz or the two relievers obtained in the Trayvon Robinson trade even make the top 20. It’s worth a click to see all of Sickels’ comments; here’s how he sums up the system:

The Dodgers farm system isn’t in terrific condition, but it’s not bad, either. They have good strength in right-handed starting pitching: Lee, Eovaldi, Webster, Gould, Sanchez, and Withrow could all develop into workhorse starters and perhaps more. Lee has the best projection and gets the highest grade, but all of these guys have the stuff to succeed, if they stay healthy, of course. There are also several impressive relief arms, beginning with Josh Lindblom who has already shown what he can do in the majors. Keep a close eye on sleeper prospect Red Patterson, who I might bump up to a C+.

Chris Reed and the now-overlooked Aaron Miller provide some southpaw balance as potential mid-rotation starters. Lefty efficiency specialist Mike Antonini is a Grade C type, but was added to the 40-man roster and has the potential to be a surprise. Guys like him sometimes pitch better with a major league defense behind them than they do in the minors, at least in short stretches.

The system is a lot weaker with position players. There are some exciting tools guys (Baldwin stands out) in the organization, but only Silverio and Pederson have shown much polish, the former after a long struggle. Pederson could have the highest grade a year from now if he performs well in full-season ball. There is a group of interesting power hitters (Songco, Smith, Van Slyke, Russell, possibly Dickson) who put up big numbers, but have flaws in their approach, are old for the level, or lack the tools to interest scouts. They should at least get a role player out of that group, although which one it will be is hard to say. Catching prospect Gorman Erickson needs a lot more attention than he’s received. Baseball America loves Tim Federowicz. I respect his glove and he’ll have a long career, but I don’t see his bat being good enough for him to get beyond role player status.

Original post:

As we’ve done in years past around here, I’ll do something of a “live blog” format each day of the winter meetings, since the news and rumors tend to fly so fast that it’s the only way to keep track of what’s going on. As each ludicrous, unbelievable story from a “source” flows in, I’ll update the post as warranted.

Let’s get the party started with a few notes:

** The Marlins beat everyone to the punch by signing Jose Reyes to a reported 6/$106m deal last night, which is probably going to result in Hanley Ramirez moving to third base while Chris Coghlan and Emilio Bonifacio handle center field. This has nothing to do with the Dodgers – though as a baseball fan, I have to admit I’m enjoying seeing the Marlins make some moves, given that they already have Heath Bell and are reportedly still attempting to get Albert Pujols and a starting pitcher – but assuming that Ramirez does agree to the move, that means that 2007 first-round pick Matt Dominguez is going to get blocked at the hot corner. Though he’s reportedly one of the best defensive third basemen around, the Chatsworth product has never really lived up to his offensive hype in the minors, hitting just .255/.325/.418 in parts of five seasons on the farm. However, he made his MLB debut last year and is only three months past his 22nd birthday, and the Dodgers have absolutely nothing at the position in the minors, so I’d be interested in checking in to see if he could be picked up relatively cheaply.

** From the “same time next year?” files: Ken Gurnick reports that Ronald Belisario, missing in action since the end of 2010 with visa issues, is still trying to return to the Dodgers. In other news, I want a date with Alison Brie. Seriously though, if he’s able to get past his legal concerns and return to the US, he’d be a welcome addition, since he was so good in 2009 and a bit underrated due to ERA in 2010. I have no idea if the Dodgers would even be interested in him at this point, and it’s hard to blame them if they’ve decided to simply wash their hands of him. Still, the performance he’s capable of for the minimum salary is intriguing.

Of course, since it’s likely he never gets his visa issues sorted out, this is probably a conversation that’s not even worth having.

** Don’t get too excited about this, but it’s worth at least sharing Buster Olney’s tweet from this morning…

The representatives for Clayton Kershaw have had early contact with the Dodgers about a long-term deal,but no serious talks have taken place

While this would of course be fantastic, I find it incredibly unlikely that Kershaw could get an extension in the same winter as Matt Kemp, especially considering all of the payroll issues. As Olney says, the talks aren’t too serious yet anyway. If Kershaw did sign this winter, he could probably expect something like a 5/$80m deal.

** Finally, a reminder to keep some perspective this week. We’re all well aware by now that the offseason rumors we see in the age of Twitter are 90% posturing and BS; well, with all of the execs, agents, and media in the same place – and let’s face it, the same bars – you can be sure that the rumors that come from this week are to be taken with a grain of salt 100 times as large. (Which I suppose makes them 9000% posturing and BS, which, while mathematically impossible, sounds about right.)

Just remember, on the first day alone of the meetings last year, these were two actual rumors that popped up:

Tony Jackson with our first “HOLY CRAP!” moment:

Multiple sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Tony Jackson on Monday that the Brewers are talking to the Dodgers about a deal that would send Prince Fielder from Milwaukee to Los Angeles for Loney and embattled closer Jonathan Broxton.

Yes, yes, yes, a million times yes.

and:

RT @washingnats: #Dodgers want #Nats SS Ian Desmond and RHP Jordan Zimmermann for James Loney

HAHAHAHA. Um, and I want a pony.

So just keep that in mind this week when you see someone suggesting that Matt Guerrier might get moved for Bryce Harper, okay?