Winter Waiting Land Paying off for Los Angeles Dodgers

Jeff DickinsonCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2008

It's refreshing to finally see the Los Angeles Dodgers not rushing into free agent and offseason mistakes like they have in past years. Any Dodgers fans care to remember brilliant signings like Kevin Brown, Darren Dreifort, Jason Schmidt, Andruw Jones, and Juan Pierre?

The Dodgers have avoided the desperation mode that they seemed to operate in during past winters. L.A. played it cool with Casey Blake and ended up getting him back at third base for a reasonable three years and $17.5 million.

The Dodgers haven't slobbered all over themselves with Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal, although they obviously want both of those players to return (and need them even more!).

Ramirez and super agent Scott Boras are still trying to act like they're in the driver's seat, but Ned Colletti and the Dodgers really are. The Dodgers didn't act like the Yankees did with CC Sabathia and bid against themselves for Manny. Colletti pulled the previous offer off the table and is now making Manny and Boras wait.

Colletti also didn't throw the bank at Furcal, even though L.A. needs his offense at the top of the order. Furcal went fishing and realized that the pond is not always fuller on the other side of the farm.

My prediction: Manny will end up re-signing with the Dodgers for three years and some incentives that can add a fourth guaranteed year. Furcal will also come back to Chavez Ravine for a similar type of contract.

When those signings happen, all the Dodgers need to do is get another starting pitcher who can help Billingsley, Kershaw and Kuroda. Why not take a chance on Ben Sheets? He won't break the bank because of his elbow situation, and if he is healthy, his stuff is nasty.

If not Sheets, then why not bring in the Big Unit to be the fourth or fifth starter? Having Randy Johnson at the back of the rotation wouldn't be a bad thing. And how about an affordable Trevor Hoffman to help out in the bullpen? He could help teach Jonathan Broxton become a better closer and could be a great set-up man.

Whatever happens next, the Dodgers have gone about things the right way in these challenging economic times.