Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Breaking News: Keith Law Actually Likes One Off-Season Deal

And strangely enough, it involves Ned Colletti and the Dodgers. From

It's tough to call any deal that calls for a player to earn a salary of over $15 million a year a bargain, but the Dodgers' three-year, $47 million deal with Jason Schmidt is one of the better deals of this offseason.

Schmidt was the best of all of the true free-agent starters on the market this winter (since Daisuke Matsuzaka wasn't technically a free agent), and yet was one of the only decent starters willing to accept a deal under four years. He stays in the National League, in the pitcher-friendly NL West, and will play in front of what projects to be very good defensive outfield -- important to Schmidt, who's been a flyball pitcher since he first went to San Francisco in 2001. The Dodgers' rotation now reads Schmidt-Derek Lowe-Brad Penny-Randy Wolf-Hong-Chih Kuo, with Chad Billingsley in Triple-A or in a long relief role or as possible trade bait. If the Dodgers do decide to deal for a "now" bat in left field, they can trade Billingsley and one of Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp without hurting their 2007 club.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti deserves credit for largely limiting his long-term commitments to three years or fewer. (The Juan Pierre contract looks even more odd when viewed in this light.) Not only does it limit the Dodgers' exposure to declines in performance, but it may make these players easier to trade if the club's financial picture should change, since dealing a player with one year left on his contract is easier than dealing a player with three years left.

Once again, I can't read the rest of this article since I haven't slogged more money to ESPN Insider. However, this is an interesting contrast after his unabashed rip of the Juan Pierre deal.