Although the Los Angeles Dodgers were briefly tied to Jon Lester during his days as a free agent, and their financial resources have some believing a pursuit of Max Scherzer or James Shields may occur.
Amid the speculation, the Dodgers signed Southern California native Brandon McCarthy to a four-year, $48 million contract and are believed to have agreed to terms with Brett Anderson on a one-year deal.
While McCarthy is looking forward to joining the Dodgers due to the expectations of needing to consistently pitch well, the draw of working with A.J. Ellis was also attractive, the right-hander told David Vassegh and Kevin Kennedy on Dodger Talk:
That excites me to no end. Honestly, that was part of when I was going through the process finding a team, those were the kinds of questions I wanted to ask. ‘How is this? How are you guys game planning? What’s the catching situation like?’ I threw with Kershaw all of last offseason, so I developed a relationship with him and reached out to him to tell me about A.J. Ellis and what he’s like in his strengths and game calling. Everything was reassuring.”
As the leader of the Dodgers’ pitching staff, Clayton Kershaw figures to be the pitcher most look forward to learning from. McCarthy said that holds true to a certain extent, but mentioned him not being a strong armed left-hander and identified more with Zack Greinke:
Greinke is the one that I’m really excited to get under and see what is it he does, how does he break down his hitters.”
In what’s been a career plagued by injury, McCarthy threw 200 innings last season for the first time in his nine-year career. He got off to a slow start with the Arizona Diamondbacks but rebounded after being traded to the New York Yankees, where he improved across the board.
Although questions on McCarthy’s health remain, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi views him as a long-term solution, which played a role in signing McCarthy to a four-year deal. If McCarthy is able to build on the success he had last year, he will prove to be a more than viable option for the Dodgers at the backend of their starting rotation.