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Los Angeles Dodgers Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

Ian CasselberryMLB Lead WriterJanuary 6, 2017

Los Angeles Dodgers Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

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    The Los Angeles Dodgers put the rest of MLB on notice just before the season began. With new ownership paying more than $2 billion for the team, the expectation was that the Dodgers would become baseball's mega-bucks West Coast superpower.

    General manager Ned Colletti certainly took advantage of its newly abundant resources at the non-waiver and waiver trade deadlines, taking on $290 million in added payroll. What will the Guggenheim Baseball Management ownership group do with a full offseason to plan and spend?

    There will be plenty of news and rumors to follow through the winter, but we'll help you keep track of the latest rumblings in addition to providing reaction and analysis.

    To stay updated on the latest Dodgers offseason moves, keep checking back here for the newest information. Just click over to the first slide and you'll find the most recent hot stove buzz. 

Dodgers Sign Reliever Peter Moylan

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    Posted: Thursday, Jan. 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to have a fully stocked bullpen going into spring training. But general manager Ned Colletti is bringing in at least one more arm to compete for a job in Glendale, Ariz.

    According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, the Dodgers signed right-hander Peter Moylan, who was not tendered a contract by the Atlanta Braves after the 2012 season. 

    Moylan, 34, has only appeared in 21 games over the past two seasons due to back injuries and rotator cuff surgery.

    His last full season was in 2010, during which he compiled a 2.97 ERA in 85 appearances. He struck out 52 batters in 63.2 innings, a rate of 7.4 K's per nine frames. However, Moylan also averaged 5.2 walks per nine innings. 

Catcher Jesus Flores Signs with Dodgers

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    Posted: Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET

    Tim Federowicz is expected to be the Los Angeles Dodgers' backup catcher behind A.J. Ellis this season. 

    But the Dodgers are still going to bring in at least one veteran to compete with Federowicz for the job and provide depth at the position.

    According to the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, the Dodgers signed Jesus Flores to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

    Flores was not tendered a contract by the Washington Nationals after the season, as they have Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos at catcher.

    The 28-year-old catcher appeared in 83 games for the Nationals last season after Ramos suffered a torn ACL. He batted .213 with a .577 OPS, six home runs and 26 RBI.

    Defensively, Ramos threw out 27 percent of opposing base stealers, while also allowing 28 wild pitches and six passed balls. 

Dodgers Looking at Scott Rolen

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    Posted: Thursday, Jan. 17 at 5:00 p.m. ET

    Luis Cruz is currently slated to be the Los Angeles Dodgers' Opening Day third baseman.

    But as we've seen over the past year, general manager Ned Colletti and team ownership will always pursue an opportunity to upgrade. 

    Scott Rolen was believed to be preparing for retirement after an injury-plagued 2012 season with the Cincinnati Reds. But the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay reports that Rolen hasn't made a final decision on whether or not to play this year.

    If he does want to play, the Dodgers want to talk to Rolen about providing some insurance at third base, according to the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin.

    The Dodgers are not willing to guarantee Rolen regular playing time, let alone a starting position. But their interest does seem to indicate that there is some concern over Cruz being able to produce over a full season. 

    Rolen appeared in 92 games last year, batting .245 with a .716 OPS, eight home runs and 39 RBI. Todd Frazier took over at third base while Rolen was sidelined with a shoulder injury and will be the starter this season. 

Report: Dodgers to Sign J.P. Howell

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    Posted: Friday, Jan. 4 at 10:00 p.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have been looking to add another arm to their bullpen.

    With Scott Elbert being the only left-handed reliever on the roster, general manager Ned Colletti has been pursuing another southpaw to add to the team's relief corps. 

    The Dodgers did pursue right-hander Joel Hanrahan before the Pittsburgh Pirates traded him to the Boston Red Sox. But Hanrahan was excellent against lefties last season, allowing a .135 batting average and .525 OPS. Even left-handed specialists would have trouble matching that performance.

    But the Dodgers are bringing in just such a lefty reliever to take on that specialist role. ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the team has agreed to a contract with J.P. Howell. Last season with the Tampa Bay Rays, Howell compiled a 3.04 ERA in 55 appearances, striking out 42 batters in 50.1 innings. 

    Against left-handed batters, Howell allowed a .200 batting average and .612 OPS. 

    Olney reported in another tweet that Howell's contract is a one-year deal for $2.85 million. The contract does include performance bonuses, but how much Howell could earn in total was not reported. 

Is Andre Ethier on the Trade Block?

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    Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 11:00 a.m. ET

    After insisting for months that they're not looking to trade Andre Ethier, the Los Angeles Dodgers are indeed looking to move the outfielder, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension this year.

    According to the New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand, an Ethier trade could be a precursor to the team signing free agent Nick Swisher. 

    Is Swisher an upgrade over Ethier? This season, he hit .272 with an .837 OPS, 24 home runs and 93 RBI for the New York Yankees. Ethier hit .284 with an .812 OPS, 20 homers and 89 RBI. 

    Swisher does have versatility Ethier doesn't offer, capable of playing both corner outfield spots and first base, while Ethier has played most of his career as a right fielder. 

    While Swisher is 32 years old, two years older than Ethier, he might also come cheaper. ESPN's Jim Bowden tweeted that Swisher could be seeking a four-year, $60 million contract, while the Cleveland Indians are reportedly looking to sign him for around $50 million.

    It appears now that the Dodgers overestimated the market for Ethier when they signed him to his contract. But won't any team that might show interest in Ethier also consider his salary above current market value? 

    Teams such as the Phillies, Rangers, Mariners and Red Sox could be intrigued by Ethier. But the Dodgers may have to eat some of the money on his contract to make a deal happen. 

Josh Hamilton Pursued Dodgers, but Interest Wasn't Mutual

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    Posted: Friday, Dec. 14 at 5:00 a.m. ET

    As soon as he became a free agent, reporters and analysts who cover MLB tried to connect Josh Hamilton to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The top free-agent hitter with the team willing to spend the most money seemed like an intriguing match. But there was no opening in the Dodgers outfield to accommodate Hamilton.

    According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Hamillton's agents approached the Dodgers but the talks didn't progress very far.

    While Hamilton's representatives surely wanted the Dodgers to get involved in the bidding to drive their client's price up, the team's outfield was already stocked with Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Trading Ethier would have created an opening, but finding a taker for his five-year, $85 million contract wasn't very likely.

    As a result, the Dodgers never seriously considered pursuing Hamilton and thus never submitted an offer to his agents. 

    Ultimately, Hamilton signed with the other MLB team in the Los Angeles area. 

Report: Dodgers Looking to Deal Nick Punto and Juan Uribe

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    Posted: Thursday, Dec. 13 at 11:30 a.m. ET

    In perhaps one of the least surprising developments of the Los Angeles Dodgers' offseason, the team is looking to trade several of its many utility infielders.

    According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, a source told him that the Dodgers were likely to deal Nick Punto and Juan Uribe, as those two are the most expensive of the team's surplus players. 

    Punto came to the Dodgers as part of their blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox in late August. In 22 games with Los Angeles, he hit .286 with a .705 OPS. He's set to be paid $1.5 million next season.

    Uribe appeared in only 66 games for the Dodgers due to wrist and ankle injuries. He finished the season with a .191 average and .542 OPS. 

    Between the team acquiring Hanley Ramirez and the emergence of Luis Cruz, Uribe didn't see the field much late in the season. Rosenthal reports he is likely to be released, as no team will want his $7 million salary for 2013. 

    The Dodgers roster is loaded with utility players. In addition to Punto and Uribe, Jerry Hairston Jr., Justin Sellers, Elian Herrera and the newly acquired Skip Schumaker give the team a surplus of multi-use players.

    Scott Van Slyke was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Schumaker. 

Scott Van Slyke Designated for Assignment by Dodgers

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    Posted: Thursday, Dec. 13 at 9:00 a.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers roster was bursting with utlitymen after Skip Schumaker was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals. Actually, the team had a surplus of infielder-outfielders even before that.

    So someone had to go. The first to be tossed from the ship is Scott Van Slyke, who was designated for assignment by the Dodgers. As the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez explains, Van Slyke was let go to clear a spot for Schumaker on the 40-man roster.

    In 27 games with the Dodgers, Van Slyke hit .167 with a .511 OPS, two home runs and seven RBI. He could still be traded before clearing waivers, but that seems unlikely.

    He was the Dodgers' 2011 minor league player of the year, batting .348 with a 1.022 OPS, 45 doubles, 20 home runs and 92 RBI in 130 games with Double-A Chattanooga. In 2012, Van Slyke hit .327 with a .982 OPS, 18 homers and 67 RBI in 95 games with Triple-A Albuquerque. 

    With Nick Punto, Juan Uribe, Jerry Hairston Jr., Elian Herrera, Justin Sellers and Schumaker, the Dodgers have plenty of utility players to trim from their roster. But letting Van Slyke go seems like a surprise, given his minor league success. 

Dodgers Get Infielder Skip Schumaker from Cardinals

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    Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 6:00 p.m. ET

    The remainder of the offseason and spring training should stay busy for Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti as he continues to accumulate players at positions where the team is already stocked up.

    Too many starting pitchers? Too many relievers? Maybe even too many outfielders? Hey, Colletti has four months to figure it all out.

    Add utilityman to the list of positions currently overflowing on the Dodgers roster after the team acquired Skip Schumaker from the St. Louis Cardinals, as reported by the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez. Double-A shortstop Jake Lemmerman goes to the Cards in exchange.

    Schumaker batted .276 with a .707 OPS in 304 plate appearances for St. Louis this season. He's capable of playing all three outfield positions and also saw time at second base for the Cardinals. 

    Will the left-handed hitting Schumaker be paired with Mark Ellis at second base? Or will he play more of a fourth outfielder role for the Dodgers?

    Regardless, the roster is currently bursting with utilitymen. Nick Punto, Juan Uribe, Jerry Hairston Jr., Elian Herrera, Justin Sellers and Scott Van Slyke equal a surplus that will have to be paired down.

Dodgers Not a Player for R.A. Dickey

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    Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 6:00 p.m. ET

    After signing Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-jin, the Los Angeles Dodgers would appear to be set with their starting pitching. 

    The team actually has a surplus of starters, with eight currently on the roster. In addition to Greinke and Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are all vying for the five spots in the Dodgers' rotation. 

    General manager Ned Colletti figures to trade two of those arms. The current scuttlebutt has Capuano and Harang on the trade block. 

    Yet the Dodgers may have been interested in adding yet another starting pitcher, especially if he's NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey. Dickey is currently stalled in negotiations on a contract extension with the New York Mets

    But according to the New York Daily News' Andy Martino, the Dodgers don't have what the Mets are looking for in trade. Ideally, the Mets would get an outfielder and catcher in any deal for Dickey. Yet the Dodgers were offering pitcher Zach Lee and shortstop Dee Gordon in trade. 

Zack Greinke Can Opt Out of Dodgers Deal After 3 Years

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    Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 9:00 a.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers made Zack Greinke MLB's highest-paid pitcher in terms of annual salary with his six-year, $147 million contract. The package is also the largest given to a right-handed pitcher in MLB history.

    But could the Dodgers and Greinke do this dance again three years from now?

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that Greinke has an opt-out clause in his contract after three years. The clause was included as something of a compromise because he Dodgers did not want to give Greinke a seventh year in the contract nor include a no-trade clause.

    If Greinke does opt out, he'll have earned $76 million in the first three years of the deal. Perhaps even better for him, if he pitches well, is that he'll become a free agent after Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander hit the open market and presumably raised the bar for pitcher salaries even higher.

    Greinke can also opt out of his contract if the Dodgers trade him. 

    Rosenthal speculates that Greinke could get a five-year deal after opting out, either from the Dodgers or another interested club. (Maybe the Texas Rangers will finally be able to get him.)

    If market value is $28 million by then, Greinke could get a five-year, $140 million type of contract. The combined contracts could make for an eight-year, $216 million package. 

Dodgers Sign Ryu Hyun-Jin to 6-Year, $36 Million Deal

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    Posted: Sunday, Dec. 9 at 9:00 p.m. ET

    Nearly 24 hours after reaching an agreement with free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke, the Los Angeles Dodgers have added another starting pitcher to their rotation. 

    The Dodgers signed Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin to a six-year contract worth $36 million, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Ryu can opt out of the deal after five years if he has pitched 750 innings. 

    Los Angeles had until 5 p.m. ET Sunday (Dec. 9) to sign Ryu to a contract or he would have returned to Korea and the Dodgers would have gotten back the $25.7 million posting fee paid for exclusive negotiating rights.

    Ryu, 25, has a 98-52 record and 2.80 ERA in seven seasons pitching in the Korean league. According to the AP, he was an All-Star for all of those seven seasons and also won the league's rookie of the year award. 

    As Hernandez points out, Ryu is the second significant international player the Dodgers have signed since the Guggenheim Baseball Management group purchased the team. In June, Los Angeles signed 21-year-old Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42 million contract.

    The Dodgers have now made two major additions to their pitching staff and starting rotation. But that also gives them a surplus of starting pitching that will surely lead to a trade.

    Ryu and Grienke join Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly on the Dodgers roster.

Report: Dodgers Sign Zack Greinke to 6-Year, $147 Million Contract

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    Posted: Sunday, Dec. 9 at 12:00 p.m. ET

    Reports of Zack Greinke spurning the Los Angeles Dodgers for the Texas Rangers appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

    According to the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez, the Dodgers and Greinke reached agreement on a six-year, $145 million contract. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman followed up with a tweet that the package was actually worth $147 million. 

    The $24.5 million average annual value nudges Greinke just ahead of the New York Yankees' CC Sabathia for the distinction of being the highest-paid pitcher in MLB.

    According to Cot's Contracts, Sabathia's average annual salary is $24.4 million. The Philadelphia Phillies' Cole Hamels is next at $24 million. 

    In terms of total contract value, Sabathia is still the king, however. The deal he signed in 2009 was worth $161 million. Greinke's deal is the largest ever given to a right-handed pitcher. 

    With that, the Dodgers continue to follow through on the promise of becoming MLB's next superpower after the Guggenheim Baseball Management group led by Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten and Mark Walter purchased the team for $2 billion. 

    Greinke was expected to sign with the Dodgers if for no other reason than the competition wouldn't be able to outbid them for any player. If the Rangers and Los Angeles Angels didn't already know that, they do now. 

    The Dodgers now have two Cy Young Award winners at the top of their starting rotation with Clayton Kershaw and Greinke. General manager Ned Colletti wants to bring in one more starting pitcher this offseason as well. 

Are Dodgers Close to Writing Off Zack Greinke?

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    Posted: Friday, December 7 at 9:00 a.m. ET

    Zack Greinke signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers has been a foregone conclusion throughout the offseason. The assumption has been that no team would be able to offer more money than the Dodgers, who have become MLB's new financial superpower.

    But what if Greinke doesn't actually want to play for the Dodgers?

    That's what the team is currently wondering. As CBS Sports' Jon Heymansdf reports, doubts are beginning to set in with the Dodgers front office over Greinke.

    If Greinke really wanted to play for the Dodgers, why hasn't he signed a contract already? Does he prefer to play for the Texas Rangers and a less hectic media market in Texas? Perhaps there's also some thought that the Rangers look like a surer thing for the postseason than the Dodgers.

    But maybe the Dodgers are feeling nervous and jumpy, knowing how important this signing is for them. Most everyone expects this team to spend the most money in MLB and thus quickly build a championship contender because of it.

    The pressure may be even more acute with the World Series champion San Francisco Giants—a bitter rival—being in the same division. 

    Greinke may also be enjoying this entire process, being wooed by the Dodgers, Rangers and Los Angeles Angels for what will be the biggest payday of his career. Neither of those teams can likely be ruled out of the bidding at this point.

Mariners Pursuing Dee Gordon

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    Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET

    Other teams are apparently looking at the Los Angeles Dodgers' infield situation and seeing what the rest of us see: There's not a place for shortstop Dee Gordon.

    According to CBS Sports' Scott Miller, the Dodgers are receiving many calls for the 24-year-old infielder. 

    With Hanley Ramirez being given an opportunity to keep the starting shortstop job and Luis Cruz looking like the favorite to play third base (or shortstop, if Ramirez doesn't make defensive improvements), Gordon is a man without a position. 

    Yet the Dodgers are reluctant to trade Gordon, believing that he can improve his batting average and on-base skills enough to utilize speed that stole 39 bases this season. Gordon hit .228 with a .561 OPS in 330 plate appearances.

    However, the Seattle Mariners are hoping to change the Dodgers' stance on Gordon, Miller reported in a separate tweet.

    The Mariners have Brendan Ryan, who was the best defensive shortstop in MLB, according to FanGraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating. But he hit .194 with a .555 OPS this year. As bad as Gordon is with the bat, he's an improvement over Ryan. 

    Perhaps this is an indication that the Mariners are looking to trade Ryan to a team looking for a defensive upgrade at shortstop. 

Is It Down to Dodgers vs. Rangers for Zack Greinke?

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    Posted: Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    As MLB's winter meetings near their end, the race to sign free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke may be down to two contestants.

    According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers appear to be the last two teams standing in the Greinke sweepstakes.

    In his tweet, Heyman also reveals that the bidding for Greinke may have gone up to $160 million (or more). Perhaps that's why the Los Angeles Angels are no longer being mentioned.

    For the Rangers, this is an indication of how badly they want to add a No. 1 starter to their rotation, something the team lacked this season.

    Despite this now looking like a two-team race, the Dodgers don't expect the Greinke situation to be resolved before the winter meetings end on Thursday (Dec. 6). The Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin says the team would actually be surprised if Greinke signs before the MLB crowd leaves Nashville. 

    Meanwhile, that will probably keep the free-agent and trade markets for pitching on hold. Everyone else looking to acquire or move pitching, such as the New York Mets with R.A. Dickey and Tampa Bay Rays with James Shields, is waiting for Greinke to sign. 

Dodgers Running Out of Time with Ryu Hyun-Jin

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    Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Starting pitching is a priority for the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason. One player who the team viewed as a key addition to its starting rotation was Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin.

    The Dodgers won the bidding to exclusively negotiate with Ryu, posting $25.7 million. That gave them a 30-day window to work out a contract with the 25-year-old left-hander.

    But the negotiating deadline expires at 5 p.m. ET Sunday (Dec. 9), and Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti doesn't sound optimistic of the two sides working out an agreement. 

    "The pace we're on isn't necessarily a pace to get a deal done," Colletti told Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown. "So, we'll see."

    Agent Scott Boras told Brown that he's met with the Dodgers twice about Ryu but has yet to receive an offer. 

    If the Dodgers and Ryu don't agree to a contract by Sunday's deadline, the $25.7 million bid will be given back to Los Angeles. 

    Meanwhile, the Dodgers appear to be moving on with trying to get a starting pitcher elsewhere. Besides preparing an offer for Zack Greinke, and perhaps another one for Anibal Sanchez, the team is also showing interest in trading for R.A. Dickey. 

Is R.A. Dickey on the Dodgers' Radar?

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    Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 8:30 a.m. ET

    Count the Los Angeles Dodgers among the teams interested in NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, if the New York Mets put him on the trade block.

    According to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, the Dodgers aren't just viewing Dickey as an alternative to signing Zack Greinke either. The team is exploring the possibility of adding both pitchers, which would give the Dodgers three Cy Young Award winners at the top of the rotation.

    As could be expected, the Mets are reportedly asking a high price in return for Dickey. ESPN Boston's Joey McDonald tweeted that the Mets asked the Boston Red Sox for shortstop Xander Bogaerts and outfielder Jackie Bradley in exchange for Dickey. Those are Boston's top two prospects, unlikely to go in such a deal. 

    But any team looking to trade for Dickey will surely have to give up one of its top prospects.

    For the Dodgers, would that mean No. 1 prospect Zach Lee? It's difficult to imagine general manager Ned Colletti going for that without at least signing Dickey to a contract extension. Dickey will be a free agent after the 2013 season. 

    One prospect that would surely interest the Mets is Triple-A catcher Tim Federowicz. The team is looking for an upgrade to Josh Thole behind the plate. 

Dodgers Looking to Trade Dee Gordon

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    Posted: Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 8:00 a.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers are willing to give Hanley Ramirez a shot at the starting shortstop position next season. Luis Cruz will likely be the third baseman in that scenario, with Mark Ellis playing second base. 

    That doesn't leave a position open for Dee Gordon, who was the team's shortstop for half of the past season. As a result, the Dodgers are looking to trade the speedster, according to MLB Network's Peter Gammons (via MLB Trade Rumors).

    Gordon batted .228 with a .561 OPS in 330 plate appearances for the Dodgers this year, providing 32 stolen bases.

    He missed most of the second half of the season after tearing a ligament in his right thumb on a headfirst slide. While he was out, the Dodgers acquired Ramirez from the Miami Marlins and there was nowhere for Gordon to play. 

    Gordon could still be in the mix at shortstop if the Dodgers don't think Ramirez can make an improvement defensively at the position. But even in that scenario, Cruz would probably take over at shortstop. 

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Dodgers would only trade Gordon for a big return. The team still views him as a player with high upside and love his speed.

    Still, with Gordon's low batting and on-base numbers, it's difficult to see a team willing to give up a big package for him. He can't use that speed if he doesn't get on base 

Dodgers Looking at Nationals' Michael Morse for Outfield?

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    Posted: Monday, Dec. 3 at 2:00 p.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers are interested in getting another outfielder, but don't know how much playing time might be available if the team's projected starting outfield is ready for Opening Day.

    The question mark is Carl Crawford, who's recovering from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. The recovery time is less for a position player than it would be for a pitcher, but he still may not be ready to play at the beginning of the season.

    The Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck explains the Dodgers' dilemma: Can the team get another starting-caliber outfielder, only to have a surplus once Crawford returns and an expensive player on the bench? 

    One possibility that Dilbeck mentions is Michael Morse, who could get squeezed out of a spot on the Washington Nationals roster with the acquisition of outfielder Denard Span.

    If the team decides to re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche (which the Nationals want to do, according to The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore), that leaves no place for Morse to play. Left field will be taken by Bryce Harper with Span becoming the starting center fielder. 

    Morse played in only 102 games while recovering from a lat injury he suffered in spring training. He still managed to hit 18 home runs with 62 RBI in 430 plate appearances. In 2011, Morse had a breakout season, batting .303 with a .910 OPS, 31 homers and 95 RBI.

Brian Wilson to the Dodgers? Probably Not

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    Posted: Monday, Dec. 3 at 12:00 p.m. ET

    The San Francisco Giants non-tendered reliever Brian Wilson before Friday's (Nov. 30) deadline, making him a free agent.

    Yahoo Sports' Tim Brown reported that Wilson was interested in signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers since he makes his offseason home in Los Angeles. Considering the rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers, it would be a rather provocative move for Wilson.

    However, it doesn't appear that the Dodgers are interested in adding Wilson to their bullpen. According to the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez, the team is more interested in adding a left-hander to its relief corps.

    Otherwise, the Dodgers think they're set with Brandon League, Kenley Jansen and Ronald Belisario for their late-inning relief. 

    Wilson pitched in only two games this season for the Giants before suffering a season-ending elbow injury that required the second Tommy John surgery of his career.

    If the Giants picked up his contract for next season, he would have been owed $6.8 million, or 80 percent of his $8.5 million salary for 2012. San Francisco wasn't interested in paying that kind of money for a player coming back from reconstructive elbow surgery, nor a closer who no longer has that role in the team's bullpen. 

Bidding for Zack Greinke Could Be Down to Dodgers and Angels

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    Posted: Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 10:30 a.m. ET

    With Zack Greinke reportedly seeking a contract that will pay him $25 million per season over six or seven years, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the market for his services looks to be pretty limited.

    Plenty of teams would love to have Greinke anchoring their rotation, to be certain. But only a handful of clubs are likely to have the financial resources to make Greinke the highest-paid pitcher in MLB, which is what he apparently aims to be. 

    When it comes to paying out big money to top-dollar talent these days, the Los Angeles Dodgers are always in the conversation. So it's no surprise that the Dodgers are considered the leading contender to sign Greinke. 

    However, the Los Angeles Angels are doing what they can to keep Greinke, including paring Dan Haren and Ervin Santana from their rotation and letting outfielder Torii Hunter go, in order to free up as much money as necessary to re-sign the 29-year-old right-hander.

    The Texas Rangers, who want a No. 1 starter, are also in the mix for Greinke. Surprisingly, the Washington Nationals may also be interested, which would create an embarrassment of starting pitching riches for them. 

    But when it comes down to the cash, all teams fear the Dodgers and their seemingly unlimited payroll these days.

Hiroki Kuroda Re-Signs with New York Yankees

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    Posted: Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 12:00 p.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers lost out on one of their starting pitching targets for the offseason.

    Pitcher Hiroki Kuroda decided to re-sign with the New York Yankees, reportedly passing on offers from the Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, according to ESPN New York's Wallace Matthews. The 38-year-old signed a one-year, $15 million deal.

    Though it's not known for certain, the belief is that Kuroda may have turned down more money to return to the Yankees. But as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal pointed out in a tweet, that's been Kuroda's approach for each of the four contracts he's signed in the major leagues. 

    As Matthews explains, Kuroda's comfort level with New York, his teammates and fans were a major factor in his decision. Apparently, Kuroda also preferred taking a one-year deal and the flexibility to decide where he could pitch after 2013, which could include a return to Japan. 

    Regardless, Kuroda received a $5 million raise from the contract he had with the Yankees for this season. At several points throughout this season, he was the Yanks' best starting pitcher. Kuroda finished with a 16-11 record and 3.32 ERA in 33 starts. 

    Losing out on Kuroda will likely increase the Dodgers' resolve to sign free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke. 

Dodgers Won't Sign Torii Hunter

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    Posted: Monday, Nov. 12 at 10:30 p.m. ET

    Can an MLB team be out on a player it was never really in on?

    ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers are out of the bidding for free-agent outfielder Torii Hunter.

    But they weren't really in on Hunter to begin with since there was no starting spot in the outfield to offer him. Hunter would have been a fourth outfielder with the team, as Andre Ethier isn't being traded and Carl Crawford should be ready for the beginning of the season. Hunter wants to be a starter. 

    The Dodgers did meet with Hunter's agent at last week's GM meetings. But according to the Los Angeles Times, Hunter's agent initiated the meeting, not the Dodgers' front office. 

    Hunter has said in the past he'd like to play for the Dodgers, Matt Kemp is reportedly one of his best friends in baseball. So perhaps his agent was just trying to make something happen for his client. Or he was trying to raise the bidding by getting the mega-bucks Dodgers involved in the auction. 

    The Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves are apparently the teams leading the Hunter sweepstakes, according to CBS Sports. Both Danny Knobler and ESPN's Jim Bowden are reporting that the Tigers are front-runners for the 38-year-old outfielder. 

MLB Teams Worried Dodgers Might Pursue Kevin Youkilis

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    Posted: Monday, Nov. 12 at 12:00 p.m. ET

    Are the Los Angeles Dodgers interested in signing free-agent third baseman Kevin Youkilis?

    According to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick, the team is happy with Hanley Ramirez playing shortstop if he takes steps to improve defensively. Otherwise, he'll be moved over to third base. Luis Cruz would likely end up playing whichever position Ramirez doesn't. 

    But just the possibility of the Dodgers entering the bidding for Youkilis has other teams looking to sign him a bit nervous. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports that the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies are interested in Youkilis, along with the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians

    However, those clubs are worried that the mega-bucks Dodgers will either make the highest offer for Youkilis or drive up the price for him.

    Yet the Dodgers are apparently only interested in Youkilis if Ramirez wins the job at shortstop and none of their in-house options for third base—such as Cruz, Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston Jr. or Juan Uribe—are preferable. 

    Those teams in pursuit of Youkilis are hoping that the Dodgers' roster situation takes them out of the running. 

Dodgers Not Interested in Torii Hunter as Starting Outfielder

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    Posted: Monday, Nov. 12 at 11:30 a.m. ET

    Torii Hunter's agent was hoping the Los Angeles Dodgers were interested in signing his client, but the feeling apparently isn't quite mutual.

    According to the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez and Mike DiGiovanna, the Dodgers met with Hunter's representative during last week's GM meetings in California. But it was Hunter's agent who initiated the meeting, not the Dodgers. 

    Contrary to rumors, the Dodgers apparently don't intend to trade outfielder Andre Ethier. So the only role for Hunter would be as as fourth outfielder, which he isn't interested in despite a stated interest in playing alongside Matt Kemp. Hunter's agent also made it clear that his client is looking for a multi-year deal.

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweeted that 10 teams have shown interest in Hunter early in the free-agent shopping season. He mentioned the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners among the clubs making contact regarding Hunter.

    The L.A. Times report also mentioned that the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies have been in touch with Hunter's agent.

Dodgers Win Posting Bid for Hyun-Jin Ryu

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    Posted: Monday, Nov. 12 at 11:00 a.m. ET

    In addition to paying top dollar for MLB free agents, the financial resources of the Los Angeles Dodgers' new ownership allows the team to also compete for the best international players. 

    The Dodgers showed that they intend to cast a global net to acquire talent by winning the bidding for Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. In June, the team signed Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42 million deal. 

    As reported by the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez, the Dodgers' bid of $25.7 million that beat out other MLB clubs such as the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs for the right to exclusively negotiate with Ryu for 30 days. Ryu, 25, is represented by agent Scott Boras.

    If the Dodgers are able to reach a contract agreement with Ryu, the expectation is for him to be a part of their starting rotation. That would obviously make pitchers like Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano expendable.

    As MLB.com's Ken Gurnick writes, getting Ryu would take care of the Dodgers' need for a top-line starting pitcher and likely take them out of the running for an elite free agent like Zack Greinke.

    According to ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon, Ryu is 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA in seven seasons pitching in the Korean League. He helped Korea win a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and won his only start in the World Baseball Classic.

Will Hanley Ramirez Play Shortstop or Third Base for the Dodgers?

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    Posted: Friday. Nov. 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET

    After being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hanley Ramirez played 57 games at shortstop and eight games at third base. 

    Prior to that, Ramirez played 90 games at third base for the Miami Marlins. The position change became necessary when the Marlins signed free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes. Ramirez was reportedly never quite happy to move to third base, and he embraced a return to shortstop when he joined the Dodgers. 

    But the team isn't quite sure which position Ramirez will play next season. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick that the organization is fine with Ramirez playing shortstop in 2013 but want to see improvement from him defensively. 

    FanGraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating confirms that Ramirez didn't play well at the position. He gave up nearly four more runs that the average shortstop did this season. 

    Where Ramirez plays might not be determined until spring training. Not only do the Dodgers want to see him play better at shortstop, but how Dee Gordon and Luis Cruz play defensively could also determine who plays which position.

    In the meantime, that seems to indicate that the Dodgers won't be going after a third baseman in free agency.

Free-Agent Pitcher Anibal Sanchez Seeks Six-Year, $90 Million Deal

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    Posted: Friday, Nov. 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET

    Anibal Sanchez figured to be one of the top starting pitchers available on the free-agent market this offseason. As you might expect, he's hoping to be paid like it. 

    According to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi, the 28-year-old right-hander is seeking a six-year, $90 million contract on the open market. The $15 million annual salary is close to what C.J. Wilson received from the Los Angeles Angels last year in a five-year, $77.5 million package. 

    Sanchez surely has plenty of teams interested in him. In addition to the Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers and Sanchez's last team, the Detroit Tigers, are reported to among his potential suitors. 

    But that price tag may have scared off a few clubs. (CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted that Sanchez asked one team for a seven-year, $100 million deal.) The Dodgers, however, are probably not among them unless they feel that Sanchez just isn't worth that kind of money. 

    Sanchez's value went up with his late-season performance. During September, he finished with a 2.43 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 40.2 innings. In three postseason starts—one each against the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants—he compiled a 1.77 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. 

Dodgers Say They're Unlikely to Trade for Starting Pitching

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    Posted: Thursday, Nov. 8 at 10:30 p.m. ET

    Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez that it's "unlikely" the team will trade for a starting pitcher this offseason. 

    Despite reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers might pursue a deal for a pitcher such as the Tampa Bay Rays' James Shields, conversations with colleagues at MLB's GM meetings this week have apparently led Colletti to the conclusion that getting a starter through trade will be "more impossible than possible."

    With arms like Zack Greinke, Anibal Sanchez and Hiroki Kuroda available, the Dodgers certainly have options available on the free-agent market. Each of those players would fit the No. 2 type of starter that the team wants in its rotation. 

    Colletti also said to Hernandez that he doesn't expect any top free agent pitchers to sign quickly, preferring to let the market develop. Of course, the Dodgers could always make an offer that blows the competition away. 

Could Dodgers Reunite with Hiroki Kuroda?

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    Posted: Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 10:00 a.m. ET

    Could Hiroki Kuroda return to the Los Angeles Dodgers?

    The 37-year-old right-hander signed a one-year deal with the New York Yankees for this past season, during which he went 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA.

    But the first four years of Kuroda's major league career—after 12 years pitching in Japan—were spent with the Dodgers. He compiled a 41-46 record and 3.45 ERA in 115 appearances.

    With the team's financial troubles under Frank McCourt's ownership, Kuroda went to the Yankees to get a $12 million contract. That money was used to sign Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.

    But now that the Dodgers have new owners with deep, deep pockets, general manager Ned Colletti is looking to bring Kuroda back to Chavez Ravine.

    Both Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley could be unavailable at the beginning of next season while recovering from injuries. That makes starting pitching a urgent priority for Colletti and the Dodgers this season, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.

    As the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo writes, Kuroda will likely take another one-year contract because he wants to finish his career in Japan. 

    However, the Yankees will certainly want him back after he finished as the team's second-best starting pitcher behind CC Sabathia. The Boston Red Sox are reportedly another team in pursuit. 

Mark McGwire Reportedly to Become Dodgers Hitting Coach

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    Posted: Friday, Nov. 1 at 4:30 p.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers were already in the market for a new hitting coach after firing Dave Hansen following the end of the season. 

    Reports out of St. Louis say the team is going to bring in a big name to take over the job. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss, Mark McGwire has informed the St. Louis Cardinals that he intends to become the Dodgers' next hitting coach.

    McGwire has been the Cards' batting coach for the past three seasons. In 2011 and 2012, St. Louis finished among the top five in MLB in team batting average. This past year, the Cardinals tied for the most hits in the majors with 1,526. 

    Of course, McGwire had much more hitting talent in the Cards' lineup than the Dodgers have had in recent seasons (with the obvious exceptions of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier). The St. Louis batting order featured Albert Pujols for McGwire's first two seasons. And this year, the team had four MVP candidates in Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and David Freese. 

    The Dodgers finished 12th in MLB with a .257 team batting average this season. Obviously, the team didn't feel that was good enough or Hansen wouldn't have been dismissed.

    A key reason for McGwire's decision, as tweeted by the Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold, is that his family lives in Southern California and he wanted to be closer to his wife and five children during the season.

Dodgers Eyeing James Shields as Their Top Target

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    Posted: Friday, Nov. 2 at 11:00 a.m. ET

    The Los Angeles Dodgers are looking for a starting pitcher this offseason. It's the team's top priority with Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley coming off injuries. Neither pitcher might be available at the beginning of next season.

    It's expected that the Dodgers will be a player in the bidding for free-agent Zack Greinke, the best available free-agent starting pitcher. But the competition for him will be fierce, and teams seeking pitching would be smart to keep their options open.

    According to ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon, the Dodgers have identified Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields as their top trade target. Shields went 15-10 last season with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts.

    Had the Rays not stayed in contention for the AL East lead and a wild-card playoff spot until the end of the season, Shields might have been dealt off at the trade deadline. He has team options for each of the next two years worth a combined $21 million.

    Tampa Bay would prefer not to pay that salary. With all the young pitching that the Rays have on hand, they can afford to trade Shields away to save some money.

    With Clayton Kershaw established as their ace, the Dodgers don't necessarily have to sign a No. 1 starter like Greinke. Shields would slot in as a very good No. 2 pitcher behind Kershaw in the starting rotation. 

    It might come down to which move general manager Ned Colletti can pull off first. Can he make the deal for Shields or give Greinke the offer he can't refuse?

Could Dodgers Trade Right Fielder Andre Ethier?

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    Posted: Friday, Nov. 2 at 10:30 a.m. ET

    After signing a five-year, $85 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Dodgers in mid-June, outfielder Andre Ethier surely thought his long-term future in Chavez Ravine was secure. 

    That might not be the case, however. According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Dodgers "are open to the idea" of trading Ethier.

    Teams looking for a left-handed bat who can slug 20 home runs with 85 RBI and is under team control for the next five to six years could very well be interested in the 30-year-old outfielder. Yet Ethier's deal is rather expensive and could get even more so.

    As the Los Angeles Times' Steve Dilbeck explained, Ethier's contract could become a six-year, $100 million deal if he gets 550 plate appearances in 2017 or 1,100 combined PA's between 2017 and 2018. Meeting those requirements would trigger a $17.5 million option for 2018. 

    For that kind of money, might any team looking for a power-hitting outfielder opt for Nick Swisher? The cost might be about the same. Though any club that loses out on Swisher might consider Ethier a nice alternative. 

    If Ethier hit right-handed, the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies would surely show interest.

    But CBS Sports' Jon Heyman talked to a source "familiar with the Dodgers' thinking" and reports that Ethier won't be traded. For one thing, the Dodgers might need him at the beginning of the season as Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford recover from injuries.

    The team also doesn't need to shed Ethier for financial reasons. Having just signed him to that $85 million extension, dealing him off to clear room for another free-agent outfielder seems rather irresponsible. 

    So it comes down to who you choose to believe, apparently. Is Olney's source right or is Heyman's source the one to listen to? 

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