Dodgers Report: Scott Boras

So far, Dodgers are chasing moving targets

December, 7, 2012
12/07/12
11:07
AM PT
While the Dodgers were working out a three-year contract extension with reliever Brandon League earlier this offseason, they started talking to lefty reliever Randy Choate about whether he, too, wanted to return.

The discussions with Choate dragged all the way into the early days of this week's winter meetings. The Dodgers finally declined when it became clear Choate wanted three years and about $2.5 million per season, a hefty price tag for a one-out lefty. Choate got that deal instead from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Simultaneously, the Dodgers began discussing a deal with the agent for prized right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke. They were also exchanging ideas with potential trade partners that could land them the top-of-the-rotation starter they want. They began hammering out parameters of a deal for Korean lefty Ryu Hyun-jin, trying to bridge a canyon-sized gap between their valuation and that of agent Scott Boras.

For several slow-paced weeks and four hectic days, there was plenty of motion. And no action.

If Dodgers fans are lamenting their team's lack of progress so far this offseason, though, they have company. Fans of virtually every other team have seen mostly marginal and, in some cases, baffling moves. The market remains stuck in a strange limbo for now, with teams and agents waiting for Greinke and Josh Hamilton to find homes and establish the market for the high-end talent.

So for now, the transactions involve names like Choate, Jeff Keppinger and Ben Revere -- not exactly sending fans scurrying for their season-ticket applications.

"It's ... how do I describe this?" said Boras, rarely at a loss for words. "A laissez-faire market. The way it works is, it's like putting on your pants. It starts bottom up."

While Dodgers fans haven't yet opened a present, there are still a bunch of big, sparkly toys left on the shelves. The Dodgers keep shopping. Maybe Greinke prefers to pitch elsewhere and he's just waiting for the Texas Rangers' offer to enter the same neighborhood as the Dodgers? Or maybe he's just waiting for Texas -- or somebody else -- to come up so he can leverage up a Dodgers' package?

The Dodgers aren't just sitting there, waiting for Greinke to call them. General manager Ned Colletti continues to work toward something with other teams and representatives. Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, R.A. Dickey, Ryu or James Shields might be consolation prizes (over the long term) compared to Greinke, but they would all help the Dodgers field a better team in 2013.

So stay tuned. The hot stove stays lit a little bit longer for Dodgers fans, and that's not a bad way to spend your Web-surfing time.

"There’s this artificial deadline that gets set at the end of the Rule 5 draft, like nothing else is ever going to happen," Colletti said. "Then, at the beginning of spring training -- nothing else is going to happen. Then, who’s going to make the Opening Day roster? Oh geez, is this the 25 guys we’re going to see for the next 162 games and six months?

"Everything’s fluid. It’s always fluid."

As many of the baseball people -- scouts, executives, agents and writers -- shuffled off to catch their flights at the Nashville airport Thursday evening, there was a duet strumming and singing to country music at one of the airport lounges. Most of the songs were about connections lost, but at least a couple of them had happy endings.

Is the field narrowing for Zack Greinke?

December, 5, 2012
12/05/12
5:44
PM PT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The best thing to happen to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Day 3 of the winter meetings was what one of their competitors did -- or won't do -- and that's not uncommon this time of year.

The Los Angeles Angels reached agreement with Joe Blanton, reportedly for two years and $15 million, and that -- plus their trade for Atlanta's Tommy Hanson -- would seem to indicate they're moving away from a mega-deal with free agent Zack Greinke. The floor, at least for now, appears to be a two-team dance between the Dodgers and Texas Rangers.

Not that Greinke's agent doesn't continue to wait to see if others want to cut in.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti met with Greinke's agent, Casey Close on Wednesday and, unlike the day before, Colletti wouldn't say whether he has extended an offer. That lack of comment in itself could be meaningful.

"I can't tell you we have any movement, I can't tell you we're close to anything," Colletti said. "A lot of groups, including some of the bigger names out there, are still doing due diligence and not necessarily in a mood to do anything."

The Dodgers have shelved some of their other business to concentrate on starting pitching. On Wednesday that meant one of the pitchers they were considering for their bullpen signed elsewhere. The Dodgers discussed re-signing lefty Randy Choate, but shied away when Choate asked for a three-year deal and a hefty raise. He got both by signing Wednesday with the St. Louis Cardinals for $7.5 million.

The Dodgers also have made no appreciable progress in signing Korean lefty Ryu Hyun-jin, who will return to pitch in Korea if he doesn't come to an agreement by 2 p.m. Sunday. Agent Scott Boras said he made a counteroffer to the Dodgers of shorter duration. But asked if that got the sides any closer, Colletti said, "No, we just got closer to Sunday."

Other notes

The Dodgers are looking to add a catcher before spring training, but Colletti indicated they're setting their sights on backup types who could offer competition to rookie Tim Federowicz. The Dodgers are content with A.J. Ellis as their No. 1 catcher.

Some have speculated that Greinke would prefer not to pitch in Los Angeles because of the size of the city and the media attention, but Colletti said he hasn't been told by any free agents that they don't want to pitch in L.A.

"We're not going to try to convince anybody this is a great place and a great city and a great ownership," Colletti said. "If they don't want to be part of it, we're not going to convince them."

Day 3 progress: Scant

Wish list: Starting pitcher(s); left-handed reliever; fourth outfielder; catcher

Dodgers are the belles of the ball

December, 3, 2012
12/03/12
6:00
PM PT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Baseball's winter meetings this year are taking place at the largest non-casino resort in the United States.

It's called the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, and it's filled with kitschy features like fake ponds and waterfalls; plastic jungle plants; and a massive Christmas tree display on the front lawn with enough lights to illuminate a pro football stadium.

And there's one other prop here for the next few days: the Los Angeles Dodgers' front office.

While the Dodgers do have legitimate business to conduct here -- including signing a front-line starting pitcher, they hope -- rumors of their involvement for some players have been greatly exaggerated. Since everyone in baseball knows the Dodgers' owners are flush and about to get flusher, agents have helped fan the perception that the Dodgers are among the teams pursuing their players.

"We're in on so many players, we may need two or three teams," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti joked with reporters. "We've gone from convincing players to come here to being the ones everyone is trying to convince."

Colletti confirmed to reporters that the Dodgers have yet to make any offers on starting pitchers, which ESPNLosAngeles.com first reported last week. That could change in the next few days, of course, and probably will.

One of the reasons the Dodgers made the costliest trade in baseball history last August, acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto and virtually all of their salaries, was because they viewed this class of free agents as relatively weak. So, they probably will make noise this week, but some of the things you hear will be agents banging pots and pans together.

Other notes

Colletti said the pace of negotiations to sign Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin has not been conducive to getting a deal done by Sunday's deadline (after which Ryu would return to pitch in Korea). But don't read too much into that. It's common for agent Scott Boras to take negotiations into the final hours. When Jered Weaver came out of Long Beach State, he held out an entire year, on Boras' advice, before signing a couple of hours before the deadline.

If the Dodgers do not sign Ryu, it could affect the rest of their offseason plans, forcing them to look at acquiring two healthy starting pitchers. Ted Lilly (shoulder) and Chad Billingsley (elbow) are questionable for next season.

Day 1 progress: Little, apparently

Wish list: Starting pitcher, left-handed reliever, reserve outfielder

Winter meetings shopping list: Starting pitcher(s)

November, 28, 2012
11/28/12
12:23
PM PT
The Dodgers are still mapping out their strategy for fortifying their starting rotation and, according to a source, have not made offers to any free agent pitchers yet. They'll likely begin that process next week in face-to-face meetings at the winter meetings.

It's likely the Dodgers will add two starting pitchers, since Ted Lilly might not pitch next season due to a shoulder injury and Chad Billingsley is a major question mark coming off two stints on the disabled list with elbow pain.

But who are the likeliest names to pitch at Dodger Stadium in 2013?

Reports of the Dodgers' interest in Zack Greinke may have been slightly exaggerated. Greinke's 6.48 post-season ERA is a bit of a concern and his reclusive personality may not set the right tone for a team that lacks post-season experience. Greinke's overall resume, however, might fit the bill of what the Dodgers are looking for -- a No. 2 starter -- better than some of the other available pitchers.

It might come down to whether the Dodgers are willing to take on the risk of what might prove to be a record contract for a right-handed pitcher.

They have inquired about Kyle Lohse, a source confirmed. Lohse had the best 2012 ERA of any of the free agent starters (2.86) and relies on a sinker rather than a hard, four-seam fastball, so age shouldn't be a major concern. At 34, he wouldn't command the six-year deal it might take to land Greinke or even Anibal Sanchez and he answered some questions by going 2-1 with a 3.54 ERA in four post-season starts last month.

It appears the Dodgers' strategy will be to try to land one of the established major leaguers (perhaps Greinke or Lohse) some time during the winter meetings, then turn their attention to serious negotiations with agent Scott Boras to sign Korean left-handed Ryu Hyun-jin. They have until Dec. 10 to get a deal done or Ryu would return to pitch in his native Korea. Thus far, the Dodgers have had only preliminary discussions with Boras about Ryu.

Before the 2009 season, Derek Lowe signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Atlanta Braves, which might prove a good starting point for the Lohse negotiations since they're both veteran sinkerballers. Ryu won't get a deal that approximates Yu Darvish's six-year, $56 million contract with the Texas Ranges. For argument's sake, let's say it takes $25 million to keep him in America.

The Dodgers could still get two starting pitchers for less than two-thirds of what it would cost to sign one, Greinke. Don't be surprised if that's the route they take in the coming weeks.

 

 

Meet Corey Seager

June, 30, 2012
6/30/12
4:18
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- And batting third for the Dodgers on Saturday against the New York Mets ... Corey Seager?

Just kidding. Even though with the way the Dodgers' offense has been sputtering of late, it's not all that far-fetched the team could toss its first-round draft pick in there for a bit of a jolt. Particularly a first-round pick like Seager, a big, brawny 6-foot-4 high school shortstop from North Carolina who can hit for power and average.

Seager, selected 18th overall, agreed to forgo a scholarship to South Carolina to sign a contract with a $2.35 million signing bonus Friday. He took a tour of Dodger Stadium on Saturday, posing for pictures with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier and meeting with the Dodgers coaches and staff.

"I'm on top of the world, I don't even know how to explain it," said Seager, the younger brother of Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager. "I've been ready to start but that stuff had to get sorted out. I was committed [to South Carolina] but he [Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White] changed my mind."

Seager will begin his career at the Dodgers' rookie affiliate in Odgen, Utah sometime over the next few weeks. White says for the time being, he plans to keep Seager as a shortstop.

"I know one thing, he can always play third base," White said. "But I want to see him stay in the middle of the diamond for as long as he can. When you have a guy in the middle of the diamond who can swing the bat, that's valuable. Things will dictate it as we go."

Seager is the second consecutive Scott Boras-repped client the Dodgers have selected in the first round and come to an easy agreement with. Boras also represented last year's first-rounder, Stanford pitcher Chris Reed.

Does this mean the super agent and the Dodgers are now on good terms after the Luke Hochevar debacle of 2005?

It certainly sounds like it.

"Logan and I had no trouble reaching an accord for what was equitable for Corey and the Seager family," Boras said. "It was one of those situations where everybody understood what he could mean. With where the Dodger farm system is, this really is something where --even beyond the money-- there really is an opportunity for Corey, with his abilities, that you always hope every young player has."

Here's a look at tonight's lineups:

METS
Andres Torres CF
Ruben Tejada SS
David Wright 3B
Ike Davis 1B
Lucas Duda RF
David Murphy 2B
Kirk Nieuwenhuis LF
Josh Thole C
Johan Santana P

DODGERS
Dee Gordon SS
Elian Herrera LF
Jerry Hairston Jr. 2B
Juan Rivera 1B
A.J. Ellis C
Scott Van Slyke RF
Juan Uribe 3B
Tony Gwynn Jr. CF
Nathan Eovaldi P

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.296 16 69 92
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239