We have reached the week that Cuban free agent right-handed pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will reportedly sign with a major league team, but it appears that team won't be the Dodgers. A baseball source told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that the Dodgers are no longer pursuing the pitcher, who is expected to sign a contract of between four and six years per earlier reports.
"Speculation has persisted that the deep-pocketed Dodgers, after the success of Cuban defector Yasiel Puig, have offered a contract for as much as $50 million for Gonzalez, a right-hander," Gurnick wrote. "But the source insists the Dodgers are not part of the process."
A report by Peter Gammons of MLB Network on Sunday said the Dodgers were prepared to offer Gonzalez as much as five years and $50 million.
Earlier Monday, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported that the field for Gonzalez had narrowed to five teams and that the right-hander would sign this week. Sanchez also reported that the price for Gonzalez had risen, and noted the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Cubs, Braves, Marlins, Phillies, Red Sox, Rangers, Twins and Yankees were among the teams that at some point have had "serious interest" in the right-hander.
The Dodgers, who returned to first place on Monday for the first time since April 2, have a starting rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Ricky Nolasco, and Chris Capuano. Stephen Fife, who beat out Capuano for a rotation spot before the All-Star break just prior to hitting the disabled list with right shoulder bursitis, threw four innings in a rehab assignment on Monday for Triple-A Albuquerque.
The Dodgers' reported refusal to pursue Gonzalez matches recent statements by general manager Ned Colletti downplaying the need for another starting pitcher. Perhaps the Dodgers are waiting for an impact starter to become available like Cliff Lee of the Phillies or Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers, someone who would start for them in a playoff series, unlike Gonzalez.
Or maybe the Dodgers, whose new ownership group has added nearly $700 million in player salaries in their 15 months at the helm, will continue to be used as a bargaining chip for high priced talent whether the interest is there or not.