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2013 Free Agency Preview for the Los Angeles Dodgers

Back in April, in my giddiness emanating from the great emancipation from Frank McCourt, I wrote a lengthy article looking forward to this winter and the potential free agents a newly fiscally robust Dodgers team could invest in.

Little did I know that Mark Walter, Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson had more immediate plans in mind.

At the beginning of 2012, the Dodgers were without solutions at left field, third base, catcher and the back end of the rotation and an unsure future with the incumbents at first base and shortstop. Few offensive reinforcements were coming up through the minor leagues, so to very professionally summarize, the Boys in Blue were screwed.

Now, after two massive trades and the emergence of two unexpected life-long farm hands, the Dodgers are set at every position player on the diamond. Upgrades could be had at third and catcher, but if the Dodgers were to stay pat, most fans should feel comfortable with the players at hand.

Looking at this offseason, I earmarked pitching as the biggest probable targets for the team, even though the Dodgers had (and still have) such little offensive firepower in their minors. Starting pitchers Cole Hamels and Matt Cain have since been locked up to long-term deals, as well as second baseman Brandon Phillips and third baseman David Wright has had this 2013 option picked up, as the Mets continue to negotiate with him on an extension.

LA fell a couple games short of the Wild Card playoff game, so even as the team will naturally improve with greater continuity of a more settled squad, free agent additions should be made to bolster the team. It still feels foreign that payroll isn’t even something to consider any longer, because in the words of Mark Walter, the payroll ceiling is in the nebulous region of “Somewhere…I suppose”. Luckily for the Dodgers, the team doesn’t have a whole lot of holes, and most of these targets are merely “wish list” items, rather than absolute necessities. GM Ned Colletti did a lot of his winter shopping in season and picked up several high priced items, so for better or worse, the team will be surfing the season with Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez.

An already thin farm system has been cleared out in recent months, so a trade for an elite player is unlikely. Chavez Ravine is awash in cash these days like a giant safe in Duckberg, so simply buying talent is most likely the best avenue for this team to improve.

Looking at the ace free agent listings from mlbtraderumors.com, let’s shoot off MAMBINO’s top free agent targets for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 2012 offseason:

1. SP Zack Greinke, Anaheim Angels

His Deal: Greinke is the number one pitcher on the market, and arguably the most sought after free agent. This isn’t to disparage Josh Hamilton, but between his shaky health history, contract demands and lack of teams that can satisfy them, many more teams are in play for Greinke rather than the Rangers’ center fielder. He’s going to ask for a five or six year deal (maybe as many as seven years) at around $20 million a year. It’s not going to be cheap.

Why the Dodgers Would Want Him: But he’s a 29 year old pitcher in his prime. Since his AL Cy Young win for the Royals in 2009 during his age 25 season, Greinke has pitched to a 3.37 ERA, averaging nearly a strikeout per inning, and less than a hit per inning. I don’t buy that the right-hander is declining, as almost every metric from last season was on par or slightly better last year while splitting time between Milwauke… Read more...