Winter Meetings: Day 1

Big news! Huge signing! The Dodgers sign a Japanese pitcher! Hiroki Kuroda, come on down… wait.. what?

Right-Hander from Asia University is Team’s First Amateur Signing from Japan
 LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they have signed right-handed pitcher Robert Boothe to a minor league contract. kokugakuin__2.jpg
“We feel Robert has a good chance to become an effective Major League pitcher,” said Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.  “Our scouting department has followed Robert for a couple of years and his signing reaffirms our commitment to reaching out worldwide to find players.  It is difficult to sign amateur players out of Japan and we are excited at this signing’s historical significance.”
Boothe, 21, attended Asia University and was sought after by as many as five teams in the recent Japanese Professional Baseball draft.  He was a member of the All-Japan College All-Star Team that played in Holland this summer.

Well, that’s good too, I think. Honestly, I have no idea about this guy. I tried to find some stats on him and couldn’t come up with anything.. but when you Google “Japan” and “booth” you get some.. interesting results. Anyway, thanks to the LA PR department for the release and the picture.

As for rumors from Day 1 of the Winter Meetings! Sounds like we’re out of the Santana sweepstakes (which I’m okay with) and falling behind Anawhatever for Cabrera. Some new ones that have popped up:

 - Intrepid reader Morgan passes along this ESPN article linking the Dodgers to Andruw Jones, even saying we’ve got a 2-year, $32 million offer on the table. Bora$ still thinks he’s getting Jones more than the $90 million Torii Hunter got (which, as far as I’m concerned, is worth its weight in entainment value. Seriously, Angels. Thank you for this. I still haven’t stopped laughing.)  Anyway, the rumor says Colletti’s only interested in doing a short-term deal. Which, I have to say, is a strategy I really like. Giving more money per year, but for fewer years, can be a really effective idea. It worked to get Furcal to LA, and while Schmidt obviously didn’t do much for us last year, most Blue fans loved the signing at the time. So I’m for this deal. If only we’d had this thought with Pierre last year. Or something shorter. Like zero years.

 - Here’s a new one: Hank Blalock? Steve Henson at Yahoo! says the Rangers want to get rid of him. Understandable, because he A) is on a two year, injury-filled downturn, and B) is someone I’ve always suspected of being all about Vitamin S. Speculation, of course. Just saying. Henson says they’ll come to LA, thinking the Dodgers need a 3B. I like to think that Andy LaRoche tearing up the World Cup might help his case a little, but that’s just me.

 - Oh, and the Orioles apparently want four top prospects for Erik Bedard. Let’s file that under “things that just ain’t happening”, along with Jessica Alba rolling up to my apartment in  a Porsche wearing a Dodger jersey and little else.

More tomorrow!

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