Ranking the Dodgers’ twelve in-house free agents.

J.P.  Howell

Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell became a free agent on Thursday. (Getty Images)

As noted here this morning, the Dodgers have 12 in-house free agents after they declined the options on second baseman Mark Ellis and pitcher Chris Capuano.

Not all 12 will be back, but here’s an educated guess at the likelihood of each player returning to the Dodgers, ranked in order of least likely to most:
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Daily Distractions: Let the free agency period begin.

Red Sox fans

Boston Red Sox fans celebrate the start of free agency Wednesday night. (Associated Press photo)

The World Series is over, making ringbearers of the Red Sox and free agents of dozens of players around baseball.

The Dodgers will have at least 10: Ricky Nolasco, Michael Young, Juan Uribe, Carlos Marmol, Jerry Hairston, Edinson Volquez, Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto, J.P. Howell and Brian Wilson. Per MLB rules, the Dodgers have exclusive negotiating rights with each player up until midnight Eastern Time Monday, after which all are free to sign with any club.

Sometime within the next five days, general manager Ned Colletti and staff must ultimately decide whether or not to extend these players a qualifying offer, a guaranteed contract for 2014 equal to the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players. This year, that’s $14.1 million.

The potential risk every team faces in extending a qualifying offer is that the player will accept the offer and receive more money than he would by testing the open market. The potential reward is twofold: 1, you might re-sign the player at a discount compared to his open-market value; 2, if the player doesn’t accept the qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, your team receives a first-round draft pick in 2014 from the team that does sign the player.

Of the Dodgers’ 10 free agents, Nolasco is the only viable candidate to receive a qualifying offer. He made $11.5 million last year. What’s another $2.6 million? That’s the, um, $2.6 million question that’s been floating around the front offices at Chavez Ravine this month. The answer should be an easy one: Since Nolasco didn’t begin the year with the Dodgers, they won’t receive any draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

More on him, and the other free agents, later today.

We should also note here that Chris Capuano and Mark Ellis have options for 2014 in their contracts. Capuano’s is a mutual option for $8 million with a $1 million buyout; Ellis’ is a $5.75 million club option with a $1 million buyout. If the team declines the option on both players, that’s a dirty dozen Dodgers destined to hit the free-agent market.

Some bullet points for an Allantide morning:
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Daily Distractions: On the traveling advance scout, a species facing extinction.

Sorry for the delay here. I spent the morning critiquing my college newspaper. I tried to lift their spirits, since any of them intending to pursue journalism professionally are in danger of being crushed upon receiving their first paycheck. There’s a time and a place for everything.

That segues clumsily into my topic for today, advance scouts.

I was surprised to learn that the Dodgers had only one advance scout listed in their 2013 media guide, Wade Taylor, and he was let go last week. Many members of the front office do some advance scouting from time to time, but indeed, there’s only one major-league advance scout assigned to the task full-time, working mostly on the road.

“For the postseason, we have an army of scouts,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. “We have two or three guys on each of the possible teams we could meet in October, in September. Regular season, there’s one principal one. Teams are going away from advance scouts, doing it via video.”

A small sampling of major-league teams affirms this trend. For convenience’s sake, let’s look at the other four National League West teams. All have exactly one advance scout listed in their media guide. Two have at least one assistant dedicated to advance scouting via video. Like the Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants deployed a similar “army” of scouts during their playoff push in September 2012.

The Dodgers aren’t expected to be adding more than one advance scout this off-season. Thanks to video, the full-time traveling advance scout is something of a dying breed, a department of one from April to August.

Maybe if his team is contending in September, the advance scout has help — a time and a place for everything.

Some bullet points for a Wednesday:
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