The dean of the Dodgers is now a free agent. The team did not tender a contract to Hong-Chih Kuo on Monday, the deadline to do so. Kuo, who has been with the organization since signing out of high school in Taiwan in June 1999, had arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow on October 28, the latest in a long line of arm troubles for Kuo.
Kuo went from the penthouse to the outhouse this season, with 23 walks in 27 innings and a 9.00 ERA, one season after setting a Dodgers record with a 1.20 ERA. He spent two different stints on the disabled list in 2011, including missing 36 games with an anxiety disorder while Kuo couldn't find the strike zone.
Kuo made $2.725 million in 2011, and with six DL trips in the last five years and coming off his fifth career left elbow surgery, it's understandable why the Dodgers wouldn't want to risk paying Kuo any kind of money in arbitration. If he does come back to the team - and Ned Colletti sounds interested - it will likely be an incentive-laden deal with a low base salary.
The Dodgers now have 39 players on their 40-man roster. If the recent courting of Mike MacDougal bears any fruit, there is now an open spot on the roster so don't be surprised if a deal gets announced this week.