Roller Coaster 24 Hours For Dodgers

Roller-coaster 24 Hours For Dodgers

By Jordan Walters Contributing Writer

Baseball’s winter meetings in Orlando this week got off to a bad start for the reigning National League West champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

In the span of a few hours on Tuesday, 2006 Dodgers J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo and Greg Maddux signed with other teams (Drew and Lugo with Boston, Maddux with the Padres). So things weren’t looking too good in Chavez Ravine.

However, L.A. rallied nicely on Wednesday, signing potential No. 1 starter Jason Schmidt away from the archrival Giants for 3 years and $47 million. Schmidt was 11-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 213 1/3 innings last season for San Francisco. He will turn 34 before spring training, however. The Dodgers won a bidding war that included the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.

The 2007 Dodger rotation now likely will look like this: Schmidt, Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Randy Wolf and a fifth starter from among Hong-Chih Kuo, Mark Hendrickson or Brett Tomko.

Los Angeles may not be done, as free agent outfielder Luis Gonzalez is likely to be signed, with a trade for Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez a distant possibility. L.A. is expected to be bidding against St. Louis and Baltimore for Gonzalez, but it is thought the former Diamondback wants to remain in the NL West.

By adding Schmidt, as well as earlier signing outfielder Juan Pierre and Wolf, Los Angeles figures to be the early favorite on to again win the NL West, but unless Los Angeles adds a big bat, the Dodgers could go one series and out in the playoffs again.

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