Schmidt says he's joining Dodgers
Ace right-hander nearing three-year deal to pitch in LA
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Dodgers apparently are on the verge of acquiring the power pitcher they've coveted, as free-agent right-hander Jason Schmidt on Wednesday told former Giants teammates he accepted a three-year, $47 million offer to pitch in Los Angeles.
In acquiring Schmidt, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti would succeed in a key step of his offseason Plan B -- accumulating surplus starting pitching that not only improves his starting rotation, but could lead to the culmination of Plan A, a power hitter.
Colletti -- who generally does not confirm a deal until physical exams are completed -- did not confirm this one, nor did he shoot it down.
"We're not there yet," said Colletti. "We've exchanged offers. We're still talking it through. We're just not there yet. I don't want to jeopardize the situation. I don't have a deal."
Any agreement would be contingent on Schmidt's physical condition, which is no secret to the Dodgers, who recently hired his trainer with the Giants, Stan Conte. Colletti also has familiarity with Schmidt, having helped acquire him as the Giants' assistant general manager.
In Schmidt, the Dodgers not only would get an ace, but take one away from the Giants, a National League West rival. Schmidt, who turns 34 in January, went 11-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 2006, making 32 starts and throwing 213 1/3 innings. He had three complete games, more than the entire Dodgers' staff. In 12 Major League seasons, he has a 127-90 record and 3.91 ERA.
The three-time All-Star would head 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.
The Dodgers apparently 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.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.