Tot's Thoughts: No Arbitration Offered

Dodger fans waiting for the club to make some sort of a move before or at the Winter Meetings, should probably curl up with a good book instead. The club will not offer arbitration to any of their free agents -- including Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson, both Class A types, or Ron Belliard, Jon Garland, Guillermo Mota and Vincente Padilla, who are class B.

A Type A player (Hudson and Wolf) ranks in the top 20 percent at his position; a Type B player (Belliard, Garland, Mota and Padilla) ranks in the top 40 percent but not in the top 20 percent.

If Wolf and Hudson were offered arbitration and then signed with another club, the Dodgers would receive a first-round Draft pick from the signing team if that club selects in the second half of the first round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft or a second-round pick from the signing team if that club selects in the first half of the first round, plus a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds in either case. Type B free agents also draw extra draft picks.

Dodgers fans dream about what draft guru Logan White could do with that scenario.

With incentives, Wolf and Hudson earned $8 million this year. Both are looking for a multi-year contract. Both would make substantially more if they had been offered arbitration and had accepted it. Both will be much better off since the Dodgers failed to offer arbitration, since the club they sign with will not lose draft choices.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says he is still interested in re-signing Wolf. Wolf said he would like to return but added, "Coming back to the Dodgers is not my decision."

Los Angeles will have $40 million left over from last year's $110 million payroll from free-agents who will be leaving the club. But a number of young Dodgers will be eligible for arbitration and will probably eat up about half of that, leaving $20 million to use -- but only if the Dodgers intend to spend $110 million again in 2010 and most feel they will not, instead intending cut back on the final payroll total.

Do the arithmetic, that don't leave much for free agents, folks.

They also have eight non-ranking free agents for which arbitration does not apply -- Brad Ausmus, Jason Schmidt, Jeff Weaver, Juan Castro, Eric Milton, Mark Loretta, Doug Mientkiewicz and Jim Thome who will have to be re-signed or replaced.

With all the roster losses, Colletti will have to be very creative in filling the holes. If history repeats itself, he will wait until the feeding frenzy abates and then, if he can't find players in the Dodgers minor league system, he will attempt to catch lightening in a bottle again, as he did with Takashi Saito, Chan Ho Park, Jeff Weaver, Padilla and Belliard.

Colletti said he would go with Blake DeWitt at second base if he doesn't find a different solution. And he will not include Chad Billingsley in a trade for a "name" pitcher. He has told Juan Pierre he would again attempts to move him to another club where he would be a regular.

Joe Torre was rumored to have been promised that the club would acquire enough talent to get them past the National League Championship Series, where they have stalled out two years in a row, and into the World Series.

Colletti said the arbitration decision should not be viewed as a sign that their uncertain ownership situation (read divorce proceedings) is affecting them financially. Does that mean that the club just doesn't have the money to take the final step>

Jon Weisman, editor of Dodger Thoughts, wrote about the decision to not offer arbitration and again the draft choices, "It's definitely not the kind of announcement you like to see your team make. It's neither bold nor prudent. It's just kind of depressing, and it renews questions about the leadership at the very top of this organization, regardless of the success of the past two years.

Jon Weisman, editor of Dodger Thoughts, wrote about the decision to not offer arbitration and again the draft choices, "The Los Angeles Dodgers were born to privilege that was hard-earned from their parents in Brooklyn. And they had a cushy childhood in this city, abundant with success. But now they find themselves in middle-age, not without their virtues, but all too often caught in moments in which they seem turned around, spread too thin, where they can't rise to the most critical challenges or sometimes execute the simplest tasks. "

And the reality of it is that you can forget about trying to score Dodger World Series tickets in at least the near future.