Dodgers lose Punto, Mattingly & Kasten talk extension, Brian Wilson wants closer money

NickPunto

The Dodgers lost utilityman Nick Punto to the Athletics yesterday for $3 million, which made me wonder why they didn’t keep him around.

The Dodgers will miss Nick Punto in the clubhouse as well as on the bench, but to keep him, they wouldn’t guarantee the $3 million he got from Oakland on Wednesday, doubling his 2013 salary.

The new in-house backup to Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, by default, becomes Dee Gordon, who is expanding his skill set by playing the outfield in the Dominican Republic Winter League.

I understand the desire to get younger and I understand that he wasn’t a great hitter, but he was passable with the bat and held down three positions. Besides, it’s a one-year deal, so I don’t see a ton of risk to excuse letting the best bench player in 2013 walk away.

If nothing else, another significant bench move now needs to be made, if for no other reason than this:

The new in-house backup to Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, by default, becomes Dee Gordon.

Yeahhhhhh no.

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Don Mattingly talked with MLB Network the other day about the status of his contract and he sounded upbeat.

“We’re in talks right now, and things are going good,” said Mattingly, who went on to say he is optimistic that something will get done soon.

To add onto that, yesterday Stan Kasten made it crystal clear that he supports Mattingly.

“I love Donnie,” Kasten said Wednesday after arriving at the Owners Meetings. “We’re all supporters of Donnie. I’m a fan personally as well as professionally. He has the attributes to be a long-term manager. Chiefly, it goes to his demeanor, the way he works with people. I hope and expect Donnie to be our manager for a long time. Anyone presenting a narrative otherwise is making it up.”

“I will take responsibility for any confusion because of the sequence and timing. We could have done a better job,” said Kasten, adhering to his policy of not discussing contracts with the media. “Once we had meetings, which began immediately that day, it was cleared up. But this narrative has been made up, that maybe we’re not behind him and don’t support him. Donnie and I have no hard feelings.”

Hard to figure that any bad blood would exist considering Mattingly called out both Kasten and Ned Colletti during that fit when he benched Andre Ethier, and both of them had his back in that case.

So they’re not sensitive, and this’ll get done.

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If Brian Wilson really doesn’t care about being a closer, then I’m not sure why the Dodgers shouldn’t try to overpay a bit for a setup man/backup closer. Granted, when Colletti is concerned, there’s always that fear of a three-year deal, but I hope to god he’s learned from that and will offer two years max, perhaps with a $7-9 million annual value (or more, whatever).

To be clear, though, Wilson is not Brandon League. I had feared Wilson would turn out similar in 2013 due to his lower velocity and the need to reinvent himself, but he showed both improved velocity AND the ability to pitch differently without his top shelf stuff. He was thoroughly impressive and his pedigree is far better than League’s ever was.

Yes, this is me in favor of Colletti overpaying a setup man. Get your laughs in now before the grief of a three-year deal worth $45 million sets in.

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