The Dodgers and their new ownership made a huge splash this past calendar year by spending huge money to sign and trade for marquee players such as Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Zack Greinke.
Although spending big money on free agents can lead to huge dividends, it is not always a guarantee of success.
Here’s a look at some of the big time moves the Dodgers have made in the past that didn’t pay off.
Free Agent – Jason Schmidt, 3-yr/$47 million
Jason Schmidt had just finished five and a half stellar years as the ace of the hated San Francisco Giants and registered three all-star appearances, going 78-37 with a 3.36 ERA.
He was a work horse for the Giants, taking the mound no less than 29 times in each of his five full seasons with the Giants. He pitched 200 innings three times, and was the Cy Young runner-up in 2003.
Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti made a splash by signing the 34-year old Schmidt to a three-year deal.
To give you an idea of the market back then, Barry Zito was the prized free agent pitcher that year, agreeing to a five-year/$126 million contract with the Giants. Gil Meche also signed a five-year/$55 million deal with the Kansas City Royals.
Schmidt made six starts for the Dodgers in 2007, going 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA, and started three games before going to the DL.
He started three more after returning from the DL only to be shutdown because of season-ending shoulder surgery. Schmidt’s shoulder was not only injured, it was completely shredded.
He missed all of the 2008 season, and returned to the Dodgers midway through the 2009 season, making four starts before his surgically repaired shoulder gave out on him and he was shutdown again, this time for good.
Schmidt would not pitch again for the Dodgers, and his MLB career was over.
Delino DeShields for Pedro Martinez
Prior to the 1994 season, the Dodgers traded a young pitcher named Pedro Martinez to the Montreal Expos for second baseman Delino DeShields.
DeShields was a fine lead-off man, second baseman, and one of the great base-stealers of all time, swiping 463 bags, good for 46th all-time.
However, for three seasons of DeShields hitting .241 and scoring 192 runs, the Dodgers surrendered a Hall of Fame pitcher.
Although Martinez was not as highly regarded as his brother Ramon at the time, he went on to become a perennial all-star, he won three Cy Young awards, and the 2004 World Series with the Boston Red Sox.
After being seen as too small to be able to withstand a full season as a starting pitcher, Martinez had immediate success with the Expos going 11-5 with a 3.42 ERA in his first season as a starter in 1994.
After winning the NL Cy Young award in 1997, Martinez was traded to the Red Sox, and only went 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA in seven seasons in Boston.
Pedro ranks sixth on Boston’s all-time wins list, and his win percentage with Boston is the best in MLB history.
Although, he had only one more dominant season after moving on from the Sox, Pedro had an 18-year MLB career and is one of the greatest pitchers of his generation.
Andruw Jones, Free Agent, 2-yr/$36 million
After a stellar 11-year career with the Atlanta Braves, perennial all-star and gold-glover Andruw Jones moved on.
It wan an interesting free agent class. Torii Hunter signed a 5-year/$90 million deal with the Angels, and Alex Rodriguez signed his infamous 10-year/$275 million deal with the New York Yankees. Compared with those deals, the 30-year old Jones seemed like a steal.
However, the man that won 10-straight gold gloves and never played fewer than 154 games in a season for Atlanta, showed up to Dodgers camp 20-lbs overweight and never resembled the all-star player Colletti signed.
Jones was abysmal for the Dodgers, hitting only .158 with three homers and 14 RBI in only 75 games for the Dodgers. Not only did Jones land on the DL for the first time in his career with knee issues, his relationship with Dodger fans quickly went sour, and by the end of the season, Jones was asking out of L.A., saying Dodger fans never gave him a chance.
The Dodgers would grant Jones his release that off-season, and pay the rest of his contract.
He has become a journeyman since then, enjoying stints with the Rangers, White Sox and the Yankees. Currently Jones is playing in Japan.
Jeff Shaw for Paul Konerko
In desperate need of a closer, the Dodgers traded a third-base prospect who had failed to hit for power named Paul Konerko to the Cincinnati Reds for all-star closer Jeff Shaw.
Shaw enjoyed three and a half solid years as the Dodgers closer, earning all star appearances in 1998 and 2001.
The split-finger specialist notched 129 career saves for the Dodgers, second behind only Eric Gagne.
This time, however, the Dodgers ended up trading away one of the most consistent hitters of the past decade. In a 15-year big league career, Konerko has hit 422 bombs and driven in more than 1,300 runs, all while hitting .283 and maintaining a low strikeout rate.
In addition to his six all-star appearances, Konerko was a key member of the 2005 World Series Champion White Sox.
He has had seven 30-home run seasons and six 100-RBI seasons.
Konerko currently ranks second on the White Sox all-time home run and RBI list behind only Frank Thomas. Konerko is only 33 home runs behind the Big Hurt. If he stays healthy, Konerko could pass Thomas’s home run mark in the next season or two.
Juan Uribe, Free Agent, 3-yrs/$21 million
Lacking any power in the middle of their lineup outside of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, and unable to spend on big-name free agents under the penny-pinching ownership of Frank McCourt, Ned Colletti went out and signed Juan Uribe to a three-year deal.
Uribe hit a career-high 24 home runs en route to the Giants’ World Series run in 2010. However, Uribe’s 2011 season was marred with injuries and he had career-lows across the board, including batting average, home runs, RBI, all career-lows. He also played his fewest games since his rookie season of 2001.
Despite staying relatively healthy in 2012, Uribe’s numbers continued to slip and he started drawing the ire of Dodger fans.
Uribe hit new career lows of .191, two home runs and 17 RBIs, and by the end of the season, Uribe had been relegated to pinch-hitting and spot defensive duties.
He has had a strong spring training, hitting .350 in his bid for a roster spot.
In the last year of his contract, Uribe could be released at any time. However, with Hanley Ramirez going down with a thumb injury, Uribe will have yet another chance to prove his worth to the Dodgers.