-So this was a big weekend for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as they signed one of the big name free agents in Zack Greinke for six years 147 million dollass, then signed Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin for six years at 36 million, after having to post a fee of 25.7 in order to negotiate with him.  Obviously Greinke’s the bigger name, and at age 29, he should give the Dodgers one of the top 1-2 punches in the game, to go with perenial Cy Young candidate Clayton Kershaw.  As for Hyun-jin, he’s 25, and he was 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA in seven seasons for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization, and now he’s going to one a pitcher’s paradise after being selected by a team known for its history of international arms (as recently as Hiroki Kuroda).  Kershaw, Greinke, and Hyun- jin could be the top three, along with the overpaid Josh Beckett, and the Dodgers could wind up making a trade, seeing as they also have Chris Capuano, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly on their roster.  We still have no idea if all this spending is actually going to help the Dodgers win the West next year.  One would think Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier could have excellent years, but after that, what else is there really on offense?  Mark and AJ Ellis? Luis Cruz and Dee Gordon? Do we really believe Carl Crwaford ever does anything to even remotely provide some offense? And is the back end of that rotation really going to hold up over a long 162- game season?  At the very least though, they have closed the gap with the Giants.  As have….

-The Arizona Diamondbacks, at least they’ve attempted to.  They signed veteran pitcher Brandon McCarthy to a two year, 15.5 million dollar deal after signing Eric Chavez for one year, three million, coming a month after they traded longtime outfielder Chris Young for infielder Cliff Pennington and reliever Heath Bell in a three team deal with the A’s and Marlins.  They also continue to be involved in trade discussions involving 25-year old star Justin Upton.  With McCarthy on board to go with Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, and last year’s surprise Wade Miley, the D’Backs have also been rumored to be thinking of giving up one of their top two pitching prospects; Tyler Skaggs or Trevor Bauer, with Bauer being the one most thought to have fallen out of favor.  Whatever Arizona does, they have some infield holes to fill.  They have solid outfield options in the young Adam Eaton and the veterans Geraldo Parra and Jason Kubel, they have a developing power 1st baseman in Paul Goldschmidt and a steady presence behind the plate in Miguel Montero, and they have a good rotation and bullpen.  They need middle infield help and third base help, and they shouldn’t trade Upton or Bauer if they can’t get it.

-We’ll look at Boston next, and they’ve been busy spending the money they saved by trading everyone to the Dodgers, having spent close to 125 million this offseason combined on resigning David Ortiz, and adding veterans Mike Napoli (3 yrs/39 mil), Shane Victorino (3 yrs/39 mil), Jonny Gomes (2 yrs/10 mil), David Ross (2 yrs/6.2 mil), and most recently Koji Uehura (one year/4.25 mil).  They’re also rumored to be interested in Josh Hamilton, and they apparently offered Jacob Ellsbury to Cliff Lee straight up, and were turned down by the Phillies.  One guy who won’t be going to Boston is Ryan Dempster, who turned down a 2 yr/25 million offer from the Red Sox and a 2 yr 26 million offer from the Royals, because he wants a three- year deal (I really hope no one is dumb enough to give it to a decent, 35 year old pitcher entering the twilight of his career).  I honestly don’t think Boston winds up getting any big names, I don’t think Hamilton is coming, and I do think outside of the complementary veterans, Boston’s only going to be as good as the youth it starts to bring up.  The rotation may have 2 or 3 weak spots depending on how fast guys like Felix Doubrount, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa develop, and the offense may be better than expected, as its easy to think Ellsbury, Ortiz, and Dustin Pedroia will be great if healthy, but the key is if 3rd baseman Will Middlebrooks comes back in a big way after injuries ended his season in August.  And if their top two prospects- outfielder Jackie Bradley and middle infielder Xander Bogaerts catch on quicker than projected and produce this season, Boston could surprise people.

– The Phillies are another team attempting to retool this offseason, as they’ve acquired center fielder Ben Revere from Minnesota, and all- purpose infielder Michael Young from the Rangers, for two relievers, prospect Trevor May, and up- and -coming starter Vance Worley (who could actually thrive in Minnesota if he’s healthy next year, as the Twins make their second trade for pitching depth this offseason, having already traded Denard Span to the Nationals for prospect Alex Meyer).  The Phillies offense as a whole still needs help, but adding Revere and Young to Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard couldn’t hurt anything if they’re all healthy, but outside of Revere, all of them are over 32, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.  And if Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee go down, the Phillies would be in serious trouble.

– Here’s a fun trivia question- Which team can say it boasts FIVE members that are current Major League Managers?  The 1988 Cleveland Indians had a roster that included pitchers John Farrell (current Red Sox Manager), Bud Black (Padres skipper), infielders Terry Francona (new Indians Manager) and Ron Washington (Rangers), and hitting coach Charlie Manuel (Phillies longtime Manager).  That’s an impressive collection of baseball minds, all on one team at one time.  Surprising the team was terrible (78-84, -65 run differential), isn’t it?

-Lastly, the Mets are reportedly leaning towards not trading R.A. Dickey, as other teams feel the Mets are asking for the moon, with the Royals already declining to include Will Myers, and the Red Sox not wanting to include Jackie Bradley or Xander Bogaerts.  Unless the Mets can get those types of packages, or Travis d’Arnaud, the top catching prospect of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Mets would likely keep Dickey, though some seem to think they might keep him only to let him walk if he doesn’t take the deal they want, which would be a mistake in my opinion.  I do think their right in wanting more than Mike Olt from the Rangers for Dickey though.  Olt would have to learn the outfield with Ike Davis and David Wright at the positions Olt is currently familiar with, so the Mets should get a solid defender in the outfield as well- Leonys Martin folks, thats who the Mets want, and they shouldn’t make the deal if they can’t get both.  And apparently the Mets are also thinking about bringing in Miguel Olivo for catching help.  Good times ahead, for sure.

See you next time folks!!!

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