Dodgers Waste Golden Opportunity, Decline Arbitration For Wolf, Hudson

I don't know what to say anymore.

The Dodgers declined to offer arbitration to all seven of their Type A and Type B free agents today, most notably Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times.  This means the Dodgers will receive no compensation if any of the free agents sign elsewhere.

I already covered the reasons for and/or against offering arbitration, and I expected to be disappointed today.  But not to this extent.  On some level, I can understand the argument for not offering arbitration to Hudson, even if I don't fully agree with it.  However, not offering arbitration to Randy Wolf is just wrong.  Wolf is the second best starting pitcher on the free agent market, and is sure to get a multi-year offer somewhere, so he would have likely declined arbitration.

In Wolf and Hudson, the Dodgers had two players that should be welcomed back if they chose to accept arbitration, and they only would be signed to one-year deals.  Sure, they might be a tad pricey, but both provide value at or exceeding their worth, and again, it would just be for one year, and only if they accepted arbitration.  Could it be that the Dodgers are so strapped for cash that they can't accept even the slightest risk of paying two talented players for one season?

Or is it worse than that?  Do the Dodgers not want the burden of having four extra draft picks in 2010, the burden of four extra signing bonuses, possibly totaling somewhere in the $4 million range?

What other excuse could there be besides money?  Because if this were strictly a baseball decision, both Wolf and Hudson would have been offered arbitration.

These are short-sighted moves by the Dodgers.  Look at this team.  The 2009 Dodgers only had the best record in the National League, and they were fueled by a young group of players once drafted by the Dodgers:  Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier (OK, he was drafted by the A's), Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, James Loney, Russell Martin.  Unfortunately, you can't continue the process of integrating fresh, new talent into the mix if you don't have the picks to draft them, or if you don't utilize the ones you have.  The Dodgers may have potentially saved some money with today's decisions, but they missed a golden opportunity to invest in the future.

It is now apparent to me that general manager Ned Colletti's hands are tied by purse strings.  He will have his work cut out for him this offseason, which seems like it could be a long one for Dodger fans.

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