Scouting the NL West: Los Angeles

It is rare that two teams within a division help each other but that is what Los Angeles and Arizona appear to be doing. Is it at the cost of the San Diego Padres? Perhaps. The Diamondbacks will get a bat and the Dodgers have Derek Lowe lined up.

Like a casual golf game between friends, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks gave themselves a mulligan on the Shawn Green trade, allowing another 48-hour window negotiating period, attempting to come to terms on a contract extension. If completed, the Dodgers are in a position to sign free-agent pitcher Derek Lowe.

In a revised deal, the Diamondbacks would sign Green to a two-year extension for approximately $17 million, giving him three years with the Diamondbacks for about $30-$32 million. Los Angeles would kick in $8 to $10 million and receive minor league catcher Dioner Navarro and double-A pitcher William Juarez as well as two other minor league pitchers.

Lowe will receive a four year, $36 million contract, boosting the Dodger payroll to just under $100 million. However they will file an insurance claim to cover Darren Dreifort's $13 million contract. The policy would apparently cover about 80% of the salary.

Lowe is the top free-agent pitcher still on the market and would be a big addition to the Dodgers rotation. He went 14-12 with a 5.42 ERA for Boston last season but was 3-0 with a 1.86 in three starts and one relief appearance in the postseason. Lowe likely would anchor a rotation that also would include Perez, Brad Penny, Jeff Weaver and probably Kazuhisa Ishii.

Lowe, who made $4.5 million last season, is 72-59 in his eight-year career. He was the Red Sox closer from 1999-2001, notching 81 saves. He is a sinkerball pitcher who should benefit from the fielding prowess of Dodger Gold Glove shortstop Cesar Izturis.

The Dodgers are expected to make an offer to veteran catcher Brent Mayne. Mayne, 36, has indicated he probably would retire if the Dodgers do not re-sign him.

The Dodgers also officially announced they had re-signed left-hander Odalis Perez to a three-year contract with a club option for 2008. The deal guarantees Perez at least $24 million.

GM Paul DePodesta has seemingly put together the team he has wanted all along without having to trade top prospects from their highly-rated farm system.

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