Surely general manager Ned Colletti had some sort of strategy or plan in mind for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he went on a feverish free-agent shopping spree during the offseason.
A total of 24 free agents were signed over the course of the winter, and if Ted Lilly is included (Lilly was just two weeks away from becoming a free agent before inking a three-year deal), the total climbs to 25—enough to field a full 25-man roster.
Colletti is notorious for taking a chances on players who never really quite broke through or veterans at the end of their roads. And realistically, for the number of gambles that he makes, a diamond in the rough is bound to appear somewhere.
Some argue that one of the largest concerns over the course of 2010 campaign was the lack of depth. Others say that the lack of a bona fide power hitter in the lineup led to a disappointing season. Rather than gamble on a nine-figure contract or a deal that would break the bank, Colletti opted to address all the needs one by one—not with big-market marquee players who could negatively affect the franchise by under-performing, but instead with middle-of-the-road players who have a proven track record and are fundamentally sound.
Players who signed the multi-million dollar deals—Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland, Juan Uribe, Rod Barajas, Vicente Padilla, and Matt Guerrier—are certain to impact the Dodgers' performance in some shape or form, but the question that lingers is whether or not any of the 18 players who signed contracts for $1 million or less will have any type of influence on the squad moving forward.
Granted, the Dodgers Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, will be almost completely reconstructed, and most of these free agent signings will be instrumental in holding down the fort in the desert. However, there's at least a half-dozen of these bargain signings who may have some type of positive impact on the squad in 2011.
The following slides showcase all 18 players who have signed deals with the Dodgers for $1 million or less, outline a brief history for each, and offer commentary as to how each player will contribute to the Dodgers organization during the upcoming campaign.