Since the end of the NLDS, the Los Angeles Dodgers have lost Greg Maddux, J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo. They’ve also failed in their attempts to acquire Manny Ramirez, Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soriano. Is it any wonder, then, that Newsday’s Ken Davidoff hails Dodger GM Ned Colletti for “an outstanding offseason, and the potential for intrigue still to come.”
Colletti bolstered his starting rotation by signing free agents Jason Schmidt (three years, $47 million) and Randy Wolf (one year, $8 million). He lost strong run producer J.D. Drew when the outfielder opted out of his contract and signed with Boston, but Colletti signed Luis Gonzalez to a one-year deal, which should help.
With Schmidt and Wolf joining veterans Derek Lowe and Brad Penny and youngsters Chad Billingsley and Hong-Chih Kuo, one could argue the Dodgers now have a surplus. The most logical trading chip, many in the industry have suggested, would be Penny, who has two years and about $20 million left on his contract.
“Brad Penny didn’t pitch well the second half of the season and still won 16 games,” Colletti said. “Pitchers of that ilk are not easily found. He’s probably got the best pure stuff of everyone on our staff. It’s really pushing it to say that I’m going to trade Brad Penny.”
The Dodgers sure would have traded Penny to Toronto for Vernon Wells, but Wells’ seven-year, $126-million commitment to the Blue Jays eliminated that possibility. Keep an eye on Colletti, though. He’s probably not done, even though he has accomplished a great deal so far.
Precisely what has Colletti accomplished? While his Dodgers made the playoffs during his first year on the job, said achievement can partially be credited to players developed or signed by his Paul De Podesta. Colletti’s predecessor was widely lambasted for the deal he gave J.D. Drew, and brutally ripped for the trade that brought Brad Penny to Chavez Ravine. Does anyone — Davidoff included — believe the ’06 Dodgers would’ve made the postseason without either player?