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The Blues From Down Here

I've had a very unpleasant month that's resulted in me not being able to write nearly as much as I'd like to.  Fortunately, Finals Week is the biggest break I've gotten lately, so it will let me get caught up.

Thankfully, there hasn't been much news happening since the Wolf signing, other than the arbitration offer. No free agent save for Julio Lugo was offered arbitration, the outcome that I predicted at the start of the free agent season (well, I though we'd get some draft picks for Nomar too, under the "why do we need Nomar, we have James Loney" line of thought.) The biggest concern seems to be that Greg Maddux wasn't offered arbitration, but I feel that this was the correct move. With Maddux's performance last season, along with a market where pitchers who haven't accomplished anything in the last three years get eight million dollar deals, Maddux was bound to get a raise on his nine million dollar salary in 2006.

If Maddux accepts arbitration and ends up with a 10 million dollar deal, it could have a catastrophic effect on the Dodgers hopes of contending in 2007. The only pitcher that Maddux is better than in the Dodger's current rotation is Randy Wolf, and I doubt he'd get sent to the pen. The likely odd man out is Hong-Chih Kuo, meaning Wolf's reasonable eight million dollar contract to replace Brett Tomko is suddenly an eight million dollar commitment to replace a younger, cheaper, better pitcher. While this fixes a big problem in the bullpen, and prevents a return from Joe Beimel, the Dodgers are left with a $107 million payroll, and pretty much the same team from 2006, just without the guy who hit .283/.393/.498 in the middle. Since the Dodger's power starved offense desperately needs guys to get on base, losing the big guy in the lineup could make a huge difference. There's simply too many adverse effects to Maddux accepting arbitration to offer it to him.

Other than that, there hasn't been much going on, but I'm back, and I should be resuming my regular posting schedule.