You hear the talk about free agents having a big year the same year their contracts end so they can sign a big contract the following year. Last year Manny Ramirez really increased his stock after he was traded to the Dodgers by hitting just about everything out of the park and also setting records in the post season! Before the trade he was looking at 20 million from the Sox or declining his option and probably getting less than that (17 million'ish) over the next 3 years.
As a Dodger he proved he wasn't done just yet and is likely worth more than the 17 million GM's were willing to give him. His agent, Scott Borass, is now demanding a 6 year deal. He certainly isn't worth it, but that's negotiating. He'll likely get at least 4 years with an option on the 5th year averaging at least 20 million a year. After the Andruw Jones project blew up in our face I can't see Colletti going anywhere near Manny and settling with Pierre in left and as our lead off hitter. (Hang on... I have to clean my desk after vomiting all over the place.)
The same concept comes into play with GM's. Next year Ned Colletti will be playing for a contract. If he can put together a team that will go to the playoffs in 2009, he may see himself getting a 3 year contract extension from Frank McCourt despite the signings of Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent's extension, Andruw Jones, and now Casey Blake.
We can determine if Ned is signing players for the benefit of the team or for his own benefit this year by evaluating the signings he makes.
Casey Blake- While Blake will help the Dodgers next year simply because we have no one else who could possibly play third (Dewitt) or second (Loretta) then we absolutely need him and all 3 years of this contract. Casey might help us reach the postseason this year, but the next year or the following he most certainly wont. His declining defense and age make him a canidate for a contract that nears something that the twins offered him. 2 years for 14 million. I'd be willing to spend 10-12 million on him just for next year so long as we dont have him in 2010-11 clogging up the bench with Pierre. This type of contract has Brett Tomko written all over it... with one exception. It's for 3 years!
Hypothetically if Ned extends his options on Manny, Furcal, Sabathia, or anyone else to 4+ years he is essentially playing for 2009 and a contract in 2010.
Who then would Ned target if he is looking forward to what the Dodgers might be able to do with the future. According to management the Dodgers are looking to going head first with the youth movement. What short term contract are available that would help the Dodgers for 2009 and free up the possibility of letting the youth have the opportunity to move their way up to a starting spot in the future?
My suggestion is Adam Dunn. 1 year @ 15 million is worth more than what Manny could give us over the next 5 or years.
I'd also like to see players like Delwyn Young, Chin Lung Hu, Ivan DeJesus, and John McDonald get a decent shot at a full time job. We were short at 3rd base and second base and signing someone like Mark Loretta was essential at least for the bench.
Signing someone like Casey Blake means that Ned Colletti is playing for a contract. If that is true then we should look forward to rumors of signing Manny, Furcal, Sabathia, and others to huge contracts.