It's Crazy Rumor Round-Up Time!

Holy Christ, are there some awful rumors floating around. A LOT of them, actually, and unfortunately they all make me feel as ill as the thought of a Roseanne/Rosie O’Donnell/Barbaro threesome. And that’s not even considering any of the Alex Rodriguez rigamarole. Where to start?

First we’ve got the ongoing Miguel Cabrera rumors. Now, the Miggy talk is something we’ve already discussed on here, and basically I felt that because the cost would be so exhorbinant, we might as well just stick with Andy LaRoche, who as you may have heard is raking in winter ball. But it was interesting none the less to think of what exactly it’d take to get him. Obviously, he wouldn’t come cheap. But I didn’t think it’d take roughly the gross domestic product of Canada, which is what the Palm Beach Post has to say:

The Dodgers would have to give up four players from a group that includes pitcher Chad Billingsley, pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw, third baseman Andy La Roche, first baseman James Loney and outfielder Matt Kemp. The Dodgers probably would balk at giving both Billingsley and Kershaw in the same deal because it would hurt the organization’s pitching depth.

Four! Is the Palm Beach Post on the Marlins’ payroll? First of all, Clayton Kershaw has to be off the table in a deal for any player. By every single account, he is the best pitching prospect in the minors, and could be ready as soon as the end of next season. You do not give those guys away. But even without him, Billingsley, LaRoche, Loney, AND Kemp? I’m having a hard time even rationally discussing this due to howcramer.jpg incomprehensibly ridiculous the thought is. You can include ONE of that group, and then some second-level guys like Andre Ethier, James McDonald, etc. Guys who would be top-level talent in organizations not as deep as the Dodgers.

You know what? Let’s just move on from that. My brain can’t handle this mind-blowing stupidity.

Speaking of mind-blowing stupidity, Tim Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune, come on down! You’re the next contestant on “The Price Is In No Way Going to Be Right!”

Responding to Colletti’s preference for veterans, the Padres are contemplating three-team trade scenarios that would bring them young Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.

Oh really? Are they? What could the Padres possibly have in mind that would convince Colletti to trade Kemp to a main rival? Jake Peavy, certainly, but I can’t see any scenario in which that happens. I know it says “three-team trade”, so some other team would be sending us the return for Kemp, but still; it’s not like we wouldn’t know where he’d be going. I can’t imagine that Colletti would willingly deal Kemp knowing that he’d just end up right down the road in San Diego, helping that horrible sand-colored team that always seems to have our number.

Moving on to our favorite FOX Sports midget, Ken Rosenthal! Ken, what wild story have you dreamed up today? Perhaps Jorge Posada to push Russell Martin to the bench? Maybe convincing Darren Dreifort to come out of retirement?

The signing of Hunter would force Pierre to left field, with Kemp and/or Ethier in right. Hunter might not be as dynamic offensively playing his home games at Dodger Stadium. But for the Dodgers, a center fielder who has averaged 30 homers and 103 RBIs the past two seasons would be a modern-day Duke Snider.

It’s almost too obvious.

The Dodgers should sign Hunter.

Ken’s FOX Sports cohort Dayn Perry completely agrees, which sort of makes me wonder if they had some office meeting to decide what sort of rumors they’d start this year.

Juan Pierre is still under contract, but he’s a massive liability for the Dodgers. He’s terrible at the plate and roundly overrated with the glove. Yes, he’s only one year into that deliriously stupid five-year, $44 million contract, but it’s time to treat him as a sunk cost. That means unloading him for whatever you can get (rosin bags, used jocks, canned wine) or relegating him to a reserve role. Playing Pierre on a daily basis will only compound such a bad decision. Throughout baseball last season, only the White Sox endured worse production from center field, so the Dodgers badly need an upgrade. That brings us to Hunter. Defensively Hunter is exceptional, and he’d also provide L.A. with some much-needed power. Hunter’s also more of a known quantity than the other premier center fielder on the market, Andruw Jones.

Well. I hate to say it, because I usually disagree with Dayn Perry on an everyday basis, but those are good points. Then again, when your point is “Juan Pierre sucks”, you don’t exactly have to work overtime to talk me into it.

As for Hunter? I’m sort of indifferent. He doesn’t really excite me. He’s good, but he’s not great. Sure, he’s a fantastic defensive CF, and he’ll get you 20-something homers a year. But he’s already 32, and the thought of giving huge money to a guy for his age 33-36 years – especially when his defense is such a big part of his game, and when the legs go the defense often does too – is a scary thought. Especially when we’ve got outfielders *coughDELWYNYOUNGcough* who can crush the ball but still aren’t getting a chance. I guess I’d say, if Pierre can be dumped, I wouldn’t be adverse to spending some money on Hunter in CF. But I’m firmly against the “Pierre in LF” idea. Just when you thought you couldn’t drop his value any lower.

Let’s wrap this up with one more batshiat-insane rumor! Show me… Mariano Rivera! Who the Yankees have apparently offered 3 years at $15 million per year, making him the highest-paid closer of all time by nearly 30%. Except, Rivera hasn’t jumped at it, for some reason. Why? Well, Ken Rosenthal thinks he has the answer:

The Yankees’ three-year, $45-million offer to free-agent closer Mariano Rivera was more than generous. Rivera’s $15 million average salary would dwarf that of the highest-paid closer, Billy Wagner, who is earning $10.75 million per season.

Rivera, who turns 38 later this month, mentioned possibly joining Joe Torre and the Dodgers to the Associated Press. The Dodgers wouldn’t pay Rivera nearly as much as the Yankees, but the idea that they wouldn’t have interest in him due to the presence of closer Takashi Saito is ridiculous.

Imagine a bullpen anchored by Jonathan Broxton, Saito and Rivera, one of the best closers in the history of the game. The Dodgers wouldn’t need to worry about their rotation as much, would they?

Fact: Mariano Rivera is the best closer of all time.

Fact: His stats show a disturbing downward trend over the last three years, and Takashi Saito was unquestionably better than Rivera in 2007.

Between 2005-07, Rivera’s ERA, WHIP, and, of course, age have all increased. Saito, on the other hand, was dominating. (Sidenote: I don’t think we give Saito enough credit for how good he was in 2007. His WHIP was an otherworldly 0.715. By comparison, the best WHIP Future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera has ever had? 0.868).

Not that Rivera wouldn’t make a nice addition to the bullpen and all, but A. if he’s turning down $15 million/year from the Yankees, what would he want from us? and B., I would not boot Saito from his role for Rivera. I don’t care who’s the bigger name. Saito is the better pitcher right now. And I can’t see Rivera deigning to be a setup man. Especially since we already have Broxton squarely set in that role.

Well, that was fun. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go curl up in a ball in the corner for fear that any of this might actually go down.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg