In a move that's mainly surprising for not having happened a year ago, the Dodgers have reacquired pitcher Jon Garland, signing him as a free agent for a one-year deal at a fairly svelte $5 million plus up to $3 million more in potential incentives, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. There is an $8 million club option for 2012 (which automatically vests if he pitches at least 190 innings in 2011).
Garland, 31, gives up his share of home runs and doesn't strike out a whole bunch, but he has made a career out of durability and adequacy. The Dodgers have gone with him over Vicente Padilla, which many people thought would have been a logical move last offseason.
If you look at the primary starting pitchers for the Dodgers year-by-year, the Dodger rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly and Garland is one of the best they've had heading into a season in recent years. Last year, as the Dodgers noted in a press release, the quintet combined for a 3.39 ERA (not adjusted for park effects), which would have led all major-league rotations. Three of these guys are on the wrong side of the age curve, but it's still a strong foundation to say the least. Pretty strong strides for November.
Now, about that offense ...
Update: Some quotes from Garland and Ned Colletti:
"I know there's a lot of people out there that don't think I'm any good," Garland said with a sardonic laugh after being told he was a trending topic on Twitter and reaction had been largely positive to his signing.
"I'm excited for the opportunity to come back to L.A.," he then said. "It's a ballpark that plays to my style of pitching.
"I'm not one to like jumping teams and year to year be in different places, so coming back to a clubhouse I've been in is exciting to me. ... In the last (few) years, I've probably had 10 different catchers."
Said Colletti: "We're very happy to have Jon back with us. His ability to pitch a lot of innings was certainly attractive to us, and he's won his fair share of games.
"Every year is different, and the composition of our club was different in some ways a year ago than it is right now. ... We felt that we needed to shore up our pitching as best we could, and do it with five starters.
"If we could get five starters that were all accomplished, that would be a good start. ... We prioritized it as a need. That doesn't mean we were always going to get five starters."
Remaining top priorities: "I think we need another bat and another relief pitcher, and figure out the catching situation," Colletti said.