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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Tim Wallach added to Seattle Mariners’ list of managerial candidates.

Wallach mugConfirming an earlier report by CBSsports.com, Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach is a candidate for the Seattle Mariners’ managerial vacancy. Wallach has also interviewed for the Detroit Tigers’ managerial job.

Wallach wasn’t believed to be a candidate in Seattle as recently as yesterday, so that might not bode well for San Francisco Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Detroit Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and Oakland A’s bench coach Chip Hale, all of whom interviewed for the job previously. However, CBSsports.com reports that the Seattle has a very long list of candidates to replace Eric Wedge, so the vetting process might be unfolding slowly by design.

At least one former Dodgers pitcher has endorsed Wallach for his hometown team:

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Daily Distractions: About the newfangled sabermetric Gold Glove Award component, and which Dodger it helps.

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke is one of five Dodgers nominated for Gold Glove Awards. (Associated Press photo)

At 320 pages, the most recent edition of The Fielding Bible is shorter than most editions of the more famous Bible, but still rather long for a topic that’s proved difficult to qualify and quantify over the years. There’s no Cliffs Notes version of the Fielding Bible, but I’ll recommend this excerpt that claims Matt Kemp shouldn’t have won a Gold Glove Award in 2011. Whether you agree with the conclusion or not, the thought process behind the conclusion is very insightful.

Today is a big day for fielding. THE big day. The Gold Glove award winners will be revealed at 5 p.m. in a live show on ESPN2, and five Dodgers are among the finalists. Their fates depend in part on a new wrinkle to the voting process: The SDI, short for the SABR Defensive Index.

The SDI counts for approximately 25 percent of the vote, according to SABR’s website, and that 25 percent can be further broken down into a series of acronyms that look like a disorganized jumble of refrigerator magnets: DRS, UZR, RED, DRA and TZ. Managers and coaches still hold a majority of the vote, and each player’s SDI score was included on the ballots distributed to each team’s staff.

What does it all mean, and what does this have to do with The Fielding Bible?

Fielding Bible co-author John Dewan is the co-founder of Stats LLC and the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, whose data feeds into all those nifty acronyms — and this year, the Gold Glove Award. And Dewan’s data believes that Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke should win a Gold Glove Award.

Yesterday, TheFieldingBible.com posted its annual picks for the best fielder at each position in the majors. Greinke is scarcely mentioned, because the two leagues weren’t separated and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey was chosen as the best fielding pitcher in baseball. But Greinke was chosen as the second-best fielding pitcher in baseball, and the best in the National League.

Greinke has never won a Gold Glove Award (a tiny shame, since his current contract holds no Gold Glove Award bonuses but his last contract, signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2009, did). Tonight could be his night. If so, he can thank SDI and TMI — too much information.

Some bullet points for a Turkish Republic Day:
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