or at least in the last ten years?
The 40 man roster is full, Ned has added so many like minded free agents either with major or minor league contracts it looks like he could build two AAA teams. So with that in mind what do we have?
Some folk are bemoaning the lack of upside with the group of free agent signings the Dodgers are bringing to camp in 2010. The names of Jamey Carroll, Alfredo Amezaga, Angel Berroa, Nick Green, Reed Johnson, Justin Miller, Armando Zerpa, Carlos Monasterios, Ramon Ortiz, and Russ Ortiz just don't inspire awe, shock, and destruction. They inspire aweshucks those guys suck. How much do they suck?
In Jon Weisman's debut column at ESPNLA he pointed out that our competition didn't do much either and listed the additions to each team. I already knew the names but seeing them in that context my first thought was that must be the most motley group of free agent signings I've ever seen. So I set out to see how they looked in comparison to the rest of the decade. To this exercise I'm using win shares, one column will show the win shares from the prior year and one column shows the win shares for the year they played for us after they were signed. Many people are signed each year but not all of them actually played for the Dodgers. I only included those players who actually played for us.
2009 - big year as we brought in frontline free agents Wolf and Hudson who did as much or even more then expected. However the big winner in this had to be Ronaldo Belisario who we expected nothing of but who was part of the backbone of the best bullpen in baseball. Jeff Weaver also has to count as a huge surprise. Big bust was Ohman, not only did he get hurt and not pitch but because he was hurt we ended up trading Bell and Johnson for Sherrill. So Ohman hurt us not only in 2009 but again in the future. Oh man, how could you do us like that.
2008 - Very few signees but the big fish were Andruw Jones and Kuroda. So again we had two front line A list type of signees. Jones was an incredible bust while Kuroda earned his contract. The big surprise again was a bullpen guy, another old friend, as Chan Ho Park proved solid in spot starts and the bullpen.
2007 - A plethora of signings. Juan Pierre,
MikeJason Schmidt, and Randy Wolf were the big names. Pierre did what he had been doing, to much money for the production but at least he did what the Dodgers expected him to do. Wolf was okay until he got hurt. Schmidt never got started on his Dodger career and you could easily say he was the biggest bust the Dodgers have ever had as a free agent, though the Andruw Jones contract or Dreifort contract could also weigh in heavily. No good surprises in 2007.
2006 - Ned was very busy in his first year. Top talent was signed in the name of Furcal, Nomar, Lofton, Mueller. 2nd tier talent was signed in the name of Tomko. Furcal did exactly what he was signed to do. Nomar even more, Lofton held his own. Mueller was the big bust because of the career ending injury. Tomko was not quite a bust, he sucked but he pitched as he normally did. Again as we would see in 2009 and 2008 the biggest surprise was in the bullpen but this time he was not only a surprise he was a stud. Maybe the best free agent signing of the decade? Takashi Saito had 18 win shares in 2006 making the minimum. Aaron Sele did a bangup job as a spot starter.
2005 - Depo brought in top talent such as JD Drew, Jeff Kent, and Derek Lowe and until JD broke his wrist they held up there side of the bargain. Jose Valentin was 2nd tier talent but it hurt like hell when he went down for the season in early spring. No unheralded surprises here. Does anyone still remember how hot this team was in April?
2004 - With the sale of the team in limbo for so long and a GM getting started in ST not many moves were made. Just like 2010 not one front tier talent was signed. However we got strong seasons from the likes of Jose Hernandez, Duaner Sanchez, and Olmedo Saenz. No one saw it coming that Lima Time would be the prime unheralded signing in 2004. Where do these come from, these guys whose careers seem over, yet they get a 2nd life. It happens too often for it to be a fluke.
2003 - You think 2010 looks like dead year, try 2003. We signed plenty of people but only Fred McGriff and Ron Coomer saw any significant time. No unheralded NRI's here.
2002 - Kaz Ishii was the hot new import from Japan while Hideo Nomo was trying a repeat performance. Nomo was very good, Ishii was not. No unheralded NRI's here.
So in retrospect the 2010 free agent group is a motley group but is it our motliest? We won't know until next November when the season ends and we see how they performed. Which one of them will surprise? My money would be on someone who can pitch in the bullpen but man how will he find a way into our bullpen? So since I've been dumping Jamey Carroll since the day we signed, I would not be the least bit surprised to see him pull a Jeff Reboulet and make me look stupid.
Read the complete list after the jump.