When the industry goes right, the Dodgers go predominantly left.
The team signed Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $48 million contract on Wednesday, giving them a projected starting rotation with five left-handed pitchers. Along with Kazmir, the Dodgers expect to enter the season with Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood in their rotation.
In Kazmir, the Dodgers are getting a pitcher who owned a 3.10 ERA and 155/59 K/BB ratio over 183 innings between the A's and Astros this past season. The 31-year-old was traded at midseason, meaning he won't cost the Dodgers a draft pick for signing him.
The deal came weeks after the Dodgers' reported agreement with Hisashi Iwakuma for three years and similar money was negated. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Kazmir's deal with the club includes an opt-out clause after the first year.
Even with a seemingly set rotation, an injured Brandon McCarthy -- who is expected back at some point next year -- and a number of pitching prospects on the cusp of the majors, the Dodgers may not be done this winter. The team was rumored to be one of the clubs most interested in Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda this offseason as well, and he is expected to find a home in early January.
Yanks Take A Chance On Chapman
The Yankees took a different kind of risk on a lefty Monday.
The club traded four minor leaguers -- third baseman Eric Jagielo, second baseman Tony Renda, and pitchers Caleb Cotham and Rookie Davis -- to the Reds in exchange for Aroldis Chapman, fortifying the back end of a bullpen that was already one of the best in the league. Jagielo was a former first-round pick of the team, but none of the four players were considered top prospects.
The Yankees add Chapman to a one-two punch of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, with Chapman likely to take over as the team's closer. The 27-year-old posted a microscopic 1.63 ERA with 116 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings in 2015.
The risk isn't related to Chapman's left arm, though. Chapman is being investigated regarding a domestic violence case, and depending on what the league finds he could be facing a suspension to start the 2016 season. If nothing else, the team has come under scrutiny in the court of public opinion in recent days for acquiring an alleged abuser.
“Certainly, there is some serious issues here that are in play,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “That’s why it’s going to play out. And I acknowledge that it’s an area of concern. There’s risk, and I understand that.”
Cespedes Market Narrowing?
Yoenis Cespedes' market has been quiet this winter, but it may be starting to heat up.
A report from MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez identified the White Sox and Orioles as "emerging as leaders for now" in Cespedes' courtship, with both teams still believed to be looking to bolster their offense heading into next season. Sanchez also lists the Angels and Giants as possibilities for the 30-year-old.
Neither team is believed to be on the verge of a deal with Cespedes -- MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko said he doesn't sense that the O's are "remotely close" to an agreement -- but both have the need for a slugger like Cespedes. For the Orioles, they're likely facing life after Chris Davis. And while the White Sox have upgraded their offense with the additions of Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie, their left fielders batted a combined .269/.314/.396 this past season.
Cespedes is looking to cash in after a career year in 2015. The outfielder batted .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs, 105 RBI and 101 runs scored between the Tigers and Mets, and he's believed to be looking for a six-year deal with a total value over $100 million.
The hitters' market was expected to start moving after Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward signed, but a number of big-time hitters -- including Cespedes, Davis and Justin Upton -- remain on the market. Perhaps Cespedes will be the next to find a landing spot.
Quick Hits: Cuban defector Yasiel Sierra has been declared a free agent by MLB. Sierra's Cuban statistics aren't anything to write home about, but the right-hander is likely to command north of $30 million from a team for his high upside ... Joe Nathan (elbow) said he's anticipating a May or June return to the Tigers. With Francisco Rodriguez now in tow, Nathan will likely serve in a middle relief role upon his return ... The Dodgers feel "pretty set" at second base with Chase Utley and Enrique Hernandez, suggesting they aren't interested in a reunion with free agent Howie Kendrick. Kendrick, meanwhile, has been in touch with the Diamondbacks, who are presently looking at a Chris Owings and Aaron Hill platoon at the keystone again next season ... Eric Young Jr. found a minor league contract with the Brewers, a good landing spot for the 30-year-old. Young could carve out a bench spot on the rebuilding Brew Crew with a strong spring ... The Nationals and Stephen Drew agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract for next season. With Daniel Murphy at second base and Drew joining Danny Espinosa in the middle infield, promising prospect Trea Turner may have trouble breaking camp with the club ... Denard Span's agent Scott Boras said he expects his client to sign "in the near future." Span will work out for teams after the new year, and the lack of a qualifying offer has made him attractive to a number of teams on some level ... The A's announced their one-year, $4.25 million deal with Henderson Alvarez.