Christmas is a little early, if. . .

If, that is, the stories in the press (USA Today earlier and Sports Illustrated now) are accurate, and the Dodgers have indeed come to an agreement with Zack Greinke on a six-year, $147M deal.

It is the highest average annual value for a pitcher ($24.5 million) and the highest total value for any right-handed pitcher ($147 million). The Dodgers become the first National League club to exceed a $200 million player payroll ($210 million and counting for active players next year, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts)

I wonder what value they’re going to put on Clayton Kershaw when he comes up for a new contract. His deal calls for an $11M salary this year, after which he’s arbitration-eligible in 2014 and a free agent in 2015. Kershaw might say to himself (or to management) “Hey, I’m the ace of this staff and I’m only making half what the new guy’s getting. That’s not right.”

These extraordinarily deep pockets have to run dry at some point, don’t they?

Update: There appears to be some interest on the part of some teams in the American League in acquiring Andre Ethier. According to Ken Rosenthal at Fox,

the talks about Ethier originated from inquiries by two American League clubs, and that the Dodgers are not actively pursuing a deal.

The official adds that the renewed interest in Ethier stems from the shrinking pool of available hitters on both the free-agent and trade markets

The Dodgers have “zero intention” of trading Ethier, the official said, but will listen to offers. The discussions, to this point, have failed to progress.

Huh. Can’t see it, not after extending his contract for five years earlier this year.

Update: Elymania is no more. The young (26) pitcher has been traded to the Astros for left-handed Minor League pitcher Rob Rasmussen.

Rasmussen, 23, a native of Arcadia, Calif., and a former standout at UCLA, was the Marlins’ second-round pick in 2010. The Astros acquired him on July 4, 2012, as part of the deal that sent Carlos Lee to Miami. Rasmussen went 4-4 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 games, including 10 starts, at Double-A Corpus Christi in 2012, and is 20-21 with a 3.88 ERA in 60 career games, including 53 starts.

It could be called a case of the Dodgers finally getting their man. Los Angeles selected Rasmussen out of Polytechnic High School in Pasadena, Calif., in the 27th round of the 2007 Draft, but he opted to go to UCLA.

  • Bumsrap

    The Dodgers are jump starting a stalled engine that once running will rely more on a bigger percentage of home grown younger players in the lineup. If this large market team were to average their payroll over the last 10 years, including 2013, the picture looks less like the old Yankees and more like a normal large market team.

  • foul tip

    Last time Ned addressed the negotiations he talked about finding the house but not being inside yet, maybe on the curb. Apparently Greinke’s agent saw him outside, rolled out the red carpet, and said “C’mon down….”

    Like Link, one of the first things I wondered about was Kershaw after seeing these numbers.

    But there may not be a problem at keeping Kershaw time, since the Dodger money supply appears bottomless.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    Just to think…If we never traded Lindblom for that tool Victorino…maybe we could have had Young instead and that would have taken care of our 3rd base problem. http://tinyurl.com/9wsyx8f
    I always liked Micheal Young of course his being a fellow Bishop Amat High School Alumni doesn’t hurt

  • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

    dodgers sign Ryu

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    I’d feel a lot more comfortable saying the Dodgers got Ryu Hyun-jin if there was more than one source saying so. Every wire article quotes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com, but all we have is a tweet of his as evidence.

    #dodgers sign ryu— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 9, 2012

  • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

    Okay, Ken Gurnick at Dodgers.com has now confirmed Ryu’s signing.

  • John_from_Aus

    pretty nice rotation (with good backups as well – if they are not traded)

  • package206

    I wonder what is next for the Dodgers. Surely they will not keep 8 or 9 starters. Who will they trade and for what? Time will tell.

    • http://www.linkmeister.com/wordpress/ Linkmeister

      They’re a little worried about Billingsley’s and Lilly’s return from injuries, so I imagine they’re in “wait and see” mode at the moment.

      • dalegribel

        LInk, that’s the way I see it too. Health not withstanding, it may also give the team the opportunity to introduce Ryu to the major leagues via a bullpen route.

    • Bumsrap

      The rays need pitching now that they traded two to KC. Perhaps they would trade Price for vets like the McCourt Dodgers might do. Lilly, Harrang, Capauno, Lee for Price.
      That would fill out the rotation for the Rays and give them a prospect that likes the south (LSU quarterback almost) and leave the Dodgers with Kershaw, Grienke, Price, Ryu, Billingsley/Beckett.

      • package206

        Love it!!

  • dalegribel

    In truth, I’m starting to become a little embarrassed. Don’t get me wrong, as a fan who has patiently waited since 1988, I’m going to enjoy every minute, but the level of spending is beyond anything we, the fans had hoped for.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Patience has come in handy being a long-term Dodger fan, but new owners don’t suffer from the same. Will we now become like the so-little-admired Yankee fans? This will take some adjustment on my part (feeling a little embarrassed myself).

    • package206

      I understand what you are saying but I don’t care.

      • Bob_Hendley

        That’s the spirit! I am going to get to that place.

        • https://www.facebook.com/kmt59 KT

          I’ve been waiting at that place for everyone else to arrive since the new ownership took over

          • Bob_Hendley

            Grab a beer and some chips, we’ll be along shortly.

  • Bumsrap

    Ryu signed his contract with right hand. http://instagr.am/p/TEn28xrEBw/

  • SaMoDodger

    I hope the Brinks truck is still backed up in front of Dodger Stadium when I get there on Opening Day. If they’re giving out money like it’s got ebola on it, I’ll take some.

  • package206

    I like the way things are going but lets face it, other than Hanley and AGon, the infield could be improved. Also a strong 4th outfielder is needed. I don’t want to hear that there is no money.Ha

  • John_from_Aus
    • Bob_Hendley

      and we have Juan NotGon.

    • package206

      Maybe I am spoiled but how does Schumaker upgrade the Dodgers?????????

  • 16883

    Isn’t the suddenly available Angel, Mark Trumbo, a first baseman/outfielder? Hmmmm…

  • dalegribel

    Did Arte Moreno get 2 “screw you’s” for the price of one? One inside his division, one inside his market?

    • Bob_Hendley

      How much would Hamilton and Sanchez cost us relative to Greinke, if you factor in the impact of the Greinke signing on what Sanchez received and on what it would now take to resign Kershaw?

  • foul tip

    Well, now the Dodgers are the “Death Star” to Rob Neyer.

    “Can any force stop Major League Baseball’s Death Star?” He says yes.

    http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/12/12/3759382/los-angeles-dodgers-payroll-signing-zack-greinke?sct=hp_bf3_a5

  • Go_Bears

    This is getting ridiculous. I actually had no doubt that the Dodgers would outbid everyone for Greinke. And the lack of doubt, not to mention the complete lack of angst about the opportunity costs of spending so much on one guy, makes the hot stove much less fun.

    Giants fans now have two recent WS wins AND the moral high ground. That’s an uncomfortable feeling.

    • package206

      I am sure this is how Yankee fans have felt in the past. After McCourt, I feel good.

    • Bob_Hendley

      There is obviously a lot of urgency on the part of new ownership to quickly build a winner and with the TV deal they have a lot of money to throw at a fairly limited market. The opportunity cost for them would be sitting on the money at this point, no?

  • package206

    I was just wondering. Does anyone know why the Dodgers would have picked up Schumaker? He is no better than M. Ellis on his stats. I do not understand this move. He can play the outfield but he still does not hit that well. The Dodgers could have just used Gwynn than pick up Skp.

    • foul tip

      Think I saw where a big part of it was McGwire’s recommendation. A St. Louis thing.

  • rumped6

    Dodgers and Jays gettin’ lots of bandwagon volunteers nationally. As always, I’m skeptical.
    For the Flock (see tabloids of 40s and 50s in Brooklyn, available for two and three and four pennies during that era:-), weakness at top of order (if Ellis, who was marginal, is there, again, is this one of his “off” seasons?) They neglected the lead spot after ’88, and they were not very competitive until Butler was signed years later. Can Carl Crawford lead off? He was vastly overrated in his free agency – a nice player deemed a great one by the Great Mistaker, Theo of Boston – and he has made it known throughout his career he would rather give the honor to someone else.
    Even if his wrist and arm are healthy, how will his head be? (And he is a so-so defender, nothing more).

    They are counting on a lineup that disappointed mightily down the stretch (as predicted and posted at the old site at the time) without a single PROVEN post-season performer, and filled with high-priced underachievers.

    They are counting on players from the Bosox and Marlins whom those orgs were chomping at the bit to be rid of (as the Jays are with their Marlin haul – every one of those three comes with serious questions for 2013).
    They are counting on Matt Kemp being healthy and the 2011 version, rather than the poster-child for bad trainer/player communication about hamstrings and walls of 2012.

    They seem stuck at the management level with Ethier’s amazing splits against lefties – baseball “book” requires you to honor his great work against righties with relatively high spot in lineups versus his kryptonite, aka, “another Donnie black hole batting order.”

    They have nothing but questions about the left side of the infield;

    They have not added appreciable speed or defense; they have a catcher who was either worn out by August, or figured out by league at that crucial time.
    They have a manager, like so many, who has no great feel for in-game strategies.

    In short, they have spent fortunes without any HARD evidence they can change that of the franchise.
    Like the old quiz show, this (and the Jays, likewise) is a Twenty Questions team. And Twenty Questions teams find enough right answers about twenty percent of the time.
    In short, great things possible, but sorta unlikely.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Good post, but what are your thoughts on the pitching? In Dre’s defense, he actually is a proven post-season performer.

      • rumped6

        Bob: I’ll get back in a coupla days on that.
        206: Same

  • package206

    I don’t know about you folks, but I am a little tired about the rumors of trading Ethier for a number of different players with a number of different clubs. It appears to me that some of these so called baseball insiders are manufacting rumors. Maybe they are just trying to plant a seed and see if the Dodgers will try and go there. Why would the Dodgers trade Ethier to sign Swisher for instance? Why would they trade him for Pedroia with Boston 1 for 1. That is a stupid idea as the Red Sox would want more than Ethier for Pedroia. All that and the Dodgers do not have another possible decent outfielder to go to the outfield. I also heard that they were trying to trade Ethier so they could sign Michael Bourne. Go figure.

    • Bob_Hendley

      I don’t mind other teams wanting our players.

      • package206

        Bob, I don’t think it is the other teams that want Ethier. It is the reporters who want to stimulate interest and then if something does happen with one or more players in the so called possible trade then they become a genius. I too don’t mind other teams wanting our players.

  • John_from_Aus

    I wouldn’t want to be in the middle of this snowball fight!
    http://mlb.mlb.com/cutfour/index.jsp#contentId=40772566

  • John_from_Aus

    Back to the original title “Christmas is a little early, if…….” – you live in Australia :)
    Merry Christmas everyone!