Just when you thought that adding more than a quarter of a billion dollars to their payroll in August would be the extent of their lavish spending in 2012, word comes from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to spend even more.
Heyman reports that the Dodgers are targeting not one, but two pitchers on the free-agent market this winter—Hiroki Kuroda and Anibal Sanchez.
Kuroda, who celebrates his 38th birthday in February, spent the first four years of his major league career with the Dodgers, going 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 115 starts.
He spent 2012 as the best pitcher in the Bronx with the New York Yankees, going 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA and 1.17 WHIP—he'd have reached 20 wins had he gotten any run support, a similar problem he had during his stay in Los Angeles.
Both pitchers were outstanding in the postseason for their respective clubs this season.
Kuroda allowing five earned runs and scattered 10 hits over 16 innings of work (2.81 ERA), striking out 15 batters. Sanchez was even more impressive, allowing four earned runs over 20 innings of work, surrendering only 14 hits and striking out 18 batters.
While the Dodgers have a number of starting pitchers already under contract—Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett and Ted Lilly—only Kershaw is a sure thing.
Which pitcher(s) should the Dodgers sign this winter?
Both Sanchez and Kuroda would give the Dodgers two reliable starters to plug into the No. 2 and No. 3 spots in their rotation, allowing them to move one or more of their excess starters for another piece to the puzzle as the team tries to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Los Angeles won't be alone in its pursuit of either pitcher, however, and neither one figures to come cheap, especially Sanchez, who is sure to point to his age and playoff performance as a reason why he's worth more than the veteran Kuroda.
Of the two pitchers, a reunion with Kuroda seems the most likely, but he's said to have thoroughly enjoyed his time in New York, and a return to Los Angeles may not be as sure of a thing as previously thought.
I think the Dodgers wind up with Sanchez, not Kuroda—along with another starter, perhaps Kyle Lohse.
Keep checking in with B/R for the latest updates on the Dodgers' free-agent pursuits and everything that's cooking in the Hot Stove League this winter.