Though the Dodgers seem in no hurry to fill their managerial vacancy, the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Henson and Mike DiGiovanna take a crack at summarizing the club’s likely targets with baseball’s Winter Meetings starting later today in Dallas.
The lingering question after shoveling so much money at Rafael Furcal is whether the Dodgers have enough available payroll to fill other needs. Ned Colletti is proceeding as if that is the case; he plans to keep spending until owner Frank McCourt tells him to stop.
That might not happen soon. Even without the Furcal signing, there were indications last week that McCourt would allow the payroll to approach $95 million, which would give Colletti another $10 million to $12 million to spend.
The power hitter could be a second-tier free-agent outfielder such as Jeromy Burnitz, Reggie Sanders, Jacque Jones or Preston Wilson. The third baseman is expected to be Bill Mueller or Joe Randa. Both would be relatively inexpensive and the Dodgers would offer a short-term deal because top prospect Andy LaRoche is expected to be ready by 2007.
Free agent Nomar Garciaparra has expressed a willingness to play third base and was a favorite of former general manager Paul DePodesta, but Colletti has concerns about his health ” especially with so many current Dodgers coming off injuries.
The Dodgers have extended offers to several starting pitchers, including Matt Morris.
“We’ve talked to a lot of teams and have focused in on a select group of free agents,” Colletti said.
Trading expensive pitcher Odalis Perez, troubled outfielder Milton Bradley and backup catcher Jason Phillips would free up additional money. But the Dodgers are reluctant to trade the prospects that figure into the team’s future beyond 2006.
Dodger Thoughts’ Jon Wiseman shares the report that LA IF Antonio Perez (above) suffered a broken left cheekbone over the weekend after being hit by a pitch in a Dominican League game.