Any time you can say your starting rotation is set before December 1, you're doing something right.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are definitely able to say that. In just a few short weeks, the Dodgers have made several big moves which they hope will translate to success in 2011.
The process of solidifying their starting rotation started with signing LHP Ted Lilly to a three-year contract on October 19. Lilly went went 10-12 with a 3.62 ERA in 30 starts while splitting time with the Chicago Cubs and Dodgers.
Lilly was solid last season, posting a 1.08 WHIP, but struggled against lefties with a .301 BAA.
As if locking up Lilly wasn't enough, Dodger's GM Ned Coletti wasn't satisfied. He then proceeded to sign RHP Hiroki Kuroda and RHP John Garland to one-year deals.
In these three moves alone, the Dodgers have created a solid starting rotation which will give them both plenty of starts and innings.
Last season, the Dodgers' starters ranked 11th in the National League in IP (952.2). But now they've brought in three pitchers who combined to make 64 starts and pitched 598.3 innings.
The Dodgers now have something few teams can boast—a starting rotation consisting of pitchers almost guaranteed to provide at least 25-30 starts and 190-200 innings.While people will always debate quality versus quantity, the Dodgers are one team that have both.
On the offensive side, the Dodgers have also added the hero of the San Francisco Giants, Juan Uribe. On Monday, the Dodgers signed the versatile infielder to a three-year, $21 million contract. Uribe, 31, can play third base, shortstop and second base for the Dodgers, but he is expected to play, for the most part, at second.
Uribe hit just .248 last season, but had a career high 24 homers and 85 RBIs. He played just 24 games at second base for the Giants and didn't make an error in 98 chances.
Uribe will not only give the Giants power at a position where it is hard to find, but also defensive flexibility, which is probably his most important contribution given that the contracts of Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal will expire at the end of next season.
The additions of Kuroda, Garland and Lilly have given the Dodgers strength in their starting rotation while Uribe has given them much-needed power and flexibility in their lineup.
It remains to be seen whether or not these moves will pay off in the win column for the Dodgers, but the most important result of their moves is that they have a starting rotation that matches up nicely with the powerful rotations of the Giants and San Diego Padres.
Another important part of these offseason moves is that they took two big pieces away from their in-state rivals. Garland pitched for the Padres last season and Uribe was of course a big part of the Giants' World Series victory last season.
Make no mistake, the Dodgers are moving fast. With the Winter Meetings set to begin next week, the Dodgers might not be done just yet.
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