Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Dodgers and Matt Kemp are nearing a two-year extension which would buy out two of Kemp's three arbitration years. Unless another agreement is reached, Kemp would be slated for a final round of arbitration prior to the 2012 season, after which he would hit free agency. As Craig Calcaterra at Circling the Bases implies, this extension will probably make bigger waves than it ought to. The talented young center fielder was going to be a Dodger for the next three seasons unless something drastic occurred. This extension is about security; cost-certainty for the club and financial stability for the player.
We've also got a reaffirmation of the party line. Dodgers President Dennis Mannion reiterated:
I don't think we're hamstrung by Frank and Jamie's situation. If anything, we're more challenged by the economy.As we've discussed many times, I'm not sure that's the right message to be sending. To keep insisting the divorce isn't affecting spending is to acknowledge that the club is in fairly dire financial straits. Without the divorce, things would still be this lean. That might be the complete truth, and, if so, I give the club credit for its candor. However, the good will generated by such candor could quickly fade as reality sets in. The Kemp extension will likely save the Dodgers money, barring some sort of collapse in performance or health. It shouldn't be taken as a sign that the club is healing financially.
A potential Joel Pineiro signing would be different. That's money the team wouldn't have had to spend anyway. I have two main concerns, though. First, is Joel Pineiro really the right place to spend what money is available? Yeah, he was excellent last season, but his track record suggests he's not as good as his 2009 numbers indicate. Second, are the Dodgers really in on him? Or do they know they're not going to offer enough but want to appear to be active in the market?