General manager Ned Colletti announced that Los Angeles has signed starting pitcher Jason Schmidt to a three-year deal that is reportedly valued at $47 million. The team later confirmed that it had also officially signed outfielder Luis Gonzalez to a one-year contract.
"Jason is a top of the rotation starter who can dominate a game as well as any pitcher in the Major Leagues," said Colletti. "He's a proven winner, and that's something that's very hard to find."
Signing Schmidt is a key step in Colletti's offseason Plan B: accumulating surplus starting pitching that not only improves his rotation but that also could lead to his realizing the initial offseason goal of obtaining a power hitter.
The acquisition gives the Dodgers an ace while dealing a blow to the rival Giants. Schmidt turns 34 in January and went 11-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 2006, making 32 starts and throwing 213 1/3 innings. He tossed three complete games last season, more than the entire Dodgers' staff, and in 12 Major League seasons, he has a 127-90 record and 3.91 ERA.
Schmidt, a durable right-hander who has pitched more than 200 innings in three of the past four seasons, will have an easy transition workout-wise, rejoining his trainer with the Giants, Stan Conte, whom the Dodgers recently hired. Colletti also has familiarity with Schmidt, having helped acquire him when he was the Giants' assistant general manager.
The three-time All-Star heads a rotation that includes Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Chad Billingsley and Randy Wolf. In addition, the Dodgers have starters Mark Hendrickson, Hong-Chih Kuo and Brett Tomko on their roster. Speculation is bound to include Penny and/or Hendrickson in future talks for a hitter.
Los Angeles won a bidding war that included the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. Schmidt's best seasons were 2003-04, when he went 17-5 with a league-leading 2.34 ERA and 18-7 with a 3.20 ERA. He is coming off a contract that paid him $10.5 million in 2006.
Gonzalez clubbed a career-best 52 doubles for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006, the third-highest total in the Major Leagues. The 17-year veteran brings a .284 lifetime average with 331 home runs and 1,324 RBIs to the Dodgers.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.