J.J. Hardy reportedly re-signs in Baltimore: What it means for the Dodgers.

Hanley  Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez hit .283 with 13 home runs and 71 RBIs for the Dodgers in 2014. (Getty Images)

Veteran shortstop J.J. Hardy has reportedly re-signed with the Baltimore Orioles for three years and $40 million.

If and when that becomes official, there will be one fewer shortstop on the free agent market once the season ends. That carries a few implications for the Dodgers and impending free agent shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
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Dodgers acquire Kevin Correia from the Minnesota Twins. Update.

Kevin Correia

Kevin Correia, who was traded to the Dodgers on Saturday night, leads the American League in losses with 13. (Getty Images)

The Dodgers acquired right-handed pitcher Kevin Correia from the Minnesota Twins late Saturday in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations.

The Dodgers are expected to make a corresponding 40-man roster move later tonight.

“Kevin gives us an additional option as a starter or long reliever,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said in a statement. “He also supplies us with more veteran pitching depth for the stretch drive.”

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Dodgers acquire Darwin Barney from Chicago Cubs.

Darwin Barney

Darwin Barney’s +46 defensive runs saved at second base from 2012-14 ranks first in the major leagues. (Associated Press photo)

According to multiple reports Monday morning, the Dodgers have acquired second baseman Darwin Barney from the Chicago Cubs. The 28-year-old veteran had been designated for assignment six days ago.

Update (12:30 p.m.): The trade is official. The Dodgers acquire Barney and cash from the Cubs for a player to be named later. Barney hasbeen added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster so there is no corresponding move at the moment.

Barney, 28, is hitting 230/.265/.328 in 217 plate appearances with the Cubs this season. Known for his defense, Barney’s Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games is +15.5. He’s got +7 Defensive Runs Saved this season and +46 over the past three seasons, first in the majors.

Prior to being designated for assignment by the Cubs, Barney had hit safely in eight of his previous 10 games, batting .385 (15-for-39) with two doubles, two triples and an RBI since July 1. He hit .230 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 72 games overall.

Update (2:06 p.m.): Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said via text message: “We added him because we believe he is a plus defender who can play second, short and third.”

Dodgers finalize contract with Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena — note the spelling.

Erisbel Arruebarrena

Screenshot courtesy of uni-watch.com.

Erisbel Arruebarrena has a new spelling and a new contract.

Arruebarrena, whose name was clearly spelled differently during the 2013 World Baseball Classic (right), has finalized a five-year, $25 million contract with the Dodgers, the team announced Saturday. Terms of the contract were first reported yesterday.

That’s a large contract for a player who might not begin the season on the major-league roster, but the Dodgers did no shortage of homework.

“Bob Engle and his scouts have seen him for quite a while,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “Rick (Ragazzo) and Vance (Lovelace) saw him this past winter. He brings really excellent defense with him. We still have a few crossroads to get through as far as getting him to the States. We think he adds to our major-league club at some point this year. He can play shortstop at a high level, second base and third base as well, but we see him as a shortstop.”

Justin Sellers was designated for assignment to make room for Arruebarrena on the 40-man roster.

Arruebarrena, 23, posted a .276 batting average with 67 doubles, 25 triples, 27 homers and 171 RBI in 437 career games in six seasons for Cienfuegos in the Cuban Serie Nacional from 2007-2013. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, who is known for his defense, has appeared primarily at shortstop during his career, but has also played second base and third base professionally. With Cienfuegos during the 2012-13 season, Arruebarrena hit .293 with a .366 on-base percentage, six home runs and 32 RBI in 70 regular-season games before going 6-for-14 (.429) in six postseason contests.

“We are excited to sign Erisbel, who we’ve scouted in international competition for a long time.” said Dodger Vice President, International Scouting Bob Engle. “He brings another superb glove to our organization.”

The Cienfuegos, Cuba native was the starting shortstop for his home country in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, batting .375 with a .444 on-base percentage, four runs scored and two RBI in six games in the tournament. He also played internationally for Cuba in the 2011 Pan American Games and batted .445 (8-for-18) with three runs scored, a double and an RBI in five games.

Arruebarrena was a teammate of Dodger outfielder Yasiel Puig with Cienfuegos in 2010-11.

Source: Dodgers have expressed an interest in free agent Suk-Min Yoon.

The Dodgers are among several major-league teams that have expressed an interest in free-agent pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, a source told the L.A. News Group on Wednesday.

Multiple teams have recently reached out to Yoon’s agent, Scott Boras. The Baltimore Sun reported today that the Orioles are one of “several” teams that have extended an offer. It’s unknown if the Dodgers are in that group, or how competitive their offer is.

The Orioles and Texas Rangers are reportedly the front-runners for the 27-year-old right hander. Both teams have starting rotation vacancies to fill, and Yoon has told reporters that he prefers to start.

Yoon is a three-time KBO All Star and 2011 MVP who starred in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for Korea. He announced his intention to pursue a major-league contract after going 3-6 with a 4.00 earned-run average for the Kia Tigers in 2013.

Yoon missed the beginning of the year with a shoulder injury and split the season between the bullpen and the rotation. According to the Korea Times, Yoon throws a “solid” slider among four pitches. He is the consensus best pitcher in Korea, after Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the Dodgers in December 2012 and posted a strong rookie season.

With Josh Beckett expected to be healthy from the start of camp, the Dodgers appear to have a set five-man rotation already. Beckett missed most of last season with thoracic outlet syndrome. Right-hander Chad Billingsley is expected to return from Tommy John surgery as early as June and give the Dodgers six proven starters.

In addition to Yoon, the Dodgers have also had conversations with starter Bronson Arroyo.

Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis fail to reach agreements with Dodgers prior to 10 a.m. deadline.

The Dodgers failed to reach agreements on a new contract with catcher A.J. Ellis and closer Kenley Jansen prior to Friday’s 10 a.m. deadline for arbitration-eligible players. Jansen and Ellis are both eligible for arbitration, and will have their cases heard before an arbitration panel in February if they can’t come to an agreement on a new contract with the Dodgers by then.

Soon, we’ll have the salary figures that the team and each player has submitted for arbitration. The Dodgers have been busy this week finalizing a seven-year, $215 million contract with Clayton Kershaw. It figures that negotiations with Ellis and Jansen took a back burner to Kershaw, and each could have a new contract in the coming weeks.

No player has taken the Dodgers to arbitration since 2007, when relief pitcher Joe Beimel lost his case. Three years before that, the Dodgers won their arbitration case with closer Eric Gagne.

Ellis became arbitration-eligible for the first time last year. He’s coming off a 1-year, $2 million contract. Jansen is eligible for the first time and stands to get a significant raise after leading the Dodgers in saves each of the last two seasons.

Report: Dodgers will make Clayton Kershaw a $30 million pitcher in 2015.

If Clayton Kershaw opts out of the final two years of his new contract, he will be leaving $65 million of a possible $215 million on the table.

Jon Heyman of CBSsports.com reported the year-by-year financial breakdown of Kershaw’s seven-year deal as follows:

2014: $22 million ($18 million signing bonus plus $4 million salary)
2015: $30 million
2016: $32 million
2017: $33 million
2018: $33 million
2019: $32 million
2020: $33 million

Based on salary obligations to current players only, and including the payments from the Boston Red Sox from the 2012 trade for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, here are the new Dodgers payroll estimates for each of those seasons:

2014: $229.0 million
2015: $173.9 million
2016: $162.3 million
2017: $162.3 million
2018: $112.6 million
2019: $53.7 million
2020: $33 million

Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis file for arbitration.

Clayton KershawA.J. EllisKenley Jansen headshotThe Dodgers’ three arbitration-eligible players, pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, and catcher A.J. Ellis, formally filed for arbitration on Tuesday.

Since today was the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to file if they had not signed a contract, this bit of news came as no surprise to the Dodgers. Teams and players will exchange arbitration figures Friday if the players haven’t re-signed by then. If needed, the arbitration hearings will be held between Feb. 1 and Feb. 21.

History says that Kershaw, Jansen and Ellis will have new contracts before February. No player has taken the Dodgers to arbitration since reliever Joe Beimel in 2007. Prior to that, it was Eric Gagne in 2004. In both cases, the arbitration panel ruled in favor of the Dodgers.

In 2013, 133 players filed for arbitration. None of those players went to a hearing — a first since salary arbitration became an option for players in 1974.

So, what can the three expect to earn?
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Daily Distractions: Apparently the Dodgers’ bullpen really needed an upgrade.

Chris Perez

The Dodgers have reportedly signed pitcher Chris Perez to a one-year contract. (Getty Images)

In all his postseason comments to the media, Ned Colletti never called out the Dodgers’ bullpen as an area of weakness in 2013. With the signing of former Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez, the GM’s actions have spoken louder than his words.

Perez, 28, reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers Monday, pending a physical. He started the 2013 season 17-for-19 in save opportunities with a 2.52 ERA through his first 35 2/3 innings. Then in an Aug. 5 game against the Detroit Tigers, Perez allowed four earned runs without recording an out. He would go on to allow 16 earned runs over his final 18 1/3 innings as an Indian.

The right-hander finished the season with a 4.33 ERA and five blown saves in 30 opportunities.

Before contract the contract becomes official, the Dodgers have already committed $18.5 million next season to two set-up men — Brian Wilson and Brandon League, both former closers themselves. Between Wilson, League and Perez, the Dodgers have 377 career saves sitting in the bullpen before giving the ball to ninth-inning man Kenley Jansen.

That gives the Dodgers the most experienced (and arguably the deepest) bullpen in the majors heading into 2014. FanGraphs’ Jason Collette threw together this chart comparing Jansen, Wilson, League and Perez.

Left-handers J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez and Onelki Garcia, and right-handers Jose Dominguez and Chris Withrow all figure to compete for innings in spring training. Colletti has also said he’s looking to add a long reliever to the mix.

Perez has a connection to Los Angeles. In September, he pleaded no contest in Ohio to a misdemeanor drug abuse charge and was found guilty of receiving a small package of marijuana mailed to his home on June 4. From Cleveland.com:

The six-ounce bag of marijuana was sent from Los Angeles and addressed to Brody Baum, the couple’s dog. Police seized the pot plus two pipes, a bong and several items of drug paraphernalia found in a basement kitchen. Chris Perez said the drugs and items belonged to him.

The package of marijuana was discovered after a postal supervisor smelled the weed and called a postal inspector, who opened the package, resealed it and delivered it to the home. An undercover officer posing as a delivery man approached (the pitcher’s wife) Melanie Perez, who confirmed the packages were for the dog. Baum is her maiden name.

Perez stirred the pot one year ago by criticizing his ownership regime in an interview with FoxSports.com:

“Different owners,” Perez said frankly, in reference to Detroit’s Mike Ilitch and Cleveland’s Lawrence J. Dolan. “It comes down to that. They (the Tigers) are spending money. He (Ilitch) wants to win. Even when the economy was down (in Detroit), he spent money. He’s got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don’t. But most of the time you do.”

Perez should be happy with his new bosses. The Dodgers have committed roughly $200 million to 19 players for next season, including the recently agreed-to contracts for third baseman Juan Uribe and Howell. Last year, the team reportedly spent $237 million on payroll.

Of that, less than 10 percent (somewhere in the $13 to $15 million range) went to full-time relievers. That percentage could increase significantly in 2014.

Statistically speaking, the Dodgers’ bullpen was excellent last year, at least after Jansen replaced League as the closer on June 11. Their 3.49 ERA ranked 13th among 30 teams. Their strikeout rate ranked ninth. They allowed 24 percent of inherited runners to score, third in the majors. And since the Dodgers’ starting rotation pitched relatively deep into games, the bullpen didn’t have to work too hard.

Perez brings a simple fastball/slider repertoire, with roughly 10 mph difference between the two pitches. It’s not the “power arm” profile that teams covet but League, Wilson, Withrow and Dominguez all fall into that category. Perez’s repertoire could be a nice complement.

Here’s a quick look at the bullpen pecking order, comparing the 2013 Opening Day Roster to the potential 2014 Opening Day group:

2013 2014
Brandon League (closer) Jansen (closer)
Kenley Jansen Brian Wilson
Ronald Belisario Chris Perez
Paco Rodriguez Rodriguez
J.P. Howell Howell
Matt Guerrier League
Aaron Harang Chris Withrow

Some bullet points for a Festivus:
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