Matt Kemp rumors are coming fast and furious, although the teams supposedly interested must still think the Dodgers are willing to give away the outfielder. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti on Saturday indicated that wasn’t the case, implying that Triple-A prospect Joc Pederson isn’t yet ready for the Major Leagues, and a trade of any veteran Dodgers outfielder almost surely would be linked to the promotion of Pederson. Besides, the new outfield arrangement of Kemp in right, Yasiel Puig in center, Carl Crawford in left and Andre Ethier on the bench has produced two convincing wins over the Giants. It has never been Colletti’s history to replace a veteran with a rookie, anyway. The most recent exception was last year’s promotion of Puig, but that came during a rash of injuries. — Ken Gurnick
CBSSports.com is the latest to speculate on an upcoming trade of Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, claiming five teams have “shown interest, or talked to” the Dodgers about Kemp, who has been unhappy since being moved out of center field. Dave Stewart, Kemp’s agent, was quoted as saying that “eight years is a long time to be in one place.” Stewart had predicted that Kemp would be traded at last year’s Winter Meetings. Trading Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford would allow the Dodgers to promote top prospect Joc Pederson to play center field. Manager Don Mattingly has said he might play Yasiel Puig in center and Kemp in right. — Ken Gurnick
With a week before the trade deadline and the back end of the starting rotation taking on water, the Dodgers are not close on any transaction as they prepare for the weekend showdown series in San Francisco. The front office would move Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford to open a spot for top prospect Joc Peterson, but all three have huge contracts. Most trade partners want Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias, but management has resisted all inquiries for the system’s few jewels so far. The stalemate could drag into August, when more clubs become sellers and supply balances with demand. — Ken Gurnick
ESPN cited an unnamed baseball source that expects the Dodgers to pursue Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. If true, the Dodgers would be absorbing as much as $30 million in salary for the remainder of this year, next year’s guarantee and a vesting option for 2016. The Dodgers already have a closer in Kenley Jansen, but have indicated they would like to add another set-up reliever. The Phillies are eager to unload salary and the deep-pocketed Dodgers have quickly become the go-to club for salary dumps. The Dodgers, however, have no interest in trading top prospects Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias. The ideal trade for the Dodgers would include moving one of their high-priced outfielders — Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier. — Ken Gurnick
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he doesn’t expect to be acquiring an “elite” pitcher (in other words, David Price) because the cost would be multiple top prospects and “I don’t see us doing anything to tear apart our farm system.” The Dodgers top prospects are outfielder Joc Pederson, infielder Corey Seager and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias.
Colletti did say he’s on the lookout for pitching, as he is at the trade deadline every year. He has previously mentioned being in search of relief help, but acknowledged that the club needs “to be careful” with pitching in general. In recent weeks, starter Josh Beckett has gone on the disabled list with a hip impingement and Dan Haren has been inconsistent. — Ken Gurnick
Carl Crawford begins a rehab assignment Saturday night at Triple-A Albuquerque for a sprained ankle that put him on the shelf for six weeks. His estimated return around the All-Star break will again create an outfielder surplus and maybe this time management will finally move one of them. Prior to his injury, the clubhouse chemistry was sour when Crawford and Matt Kemp had to share playing time. The Red Sox, among others, have been following the Dodgers closely and have long had interest in Andre Ethier, whose bat finally showed signs of life in the last week. Whether it be Ethier, Crawford or Kemp, each has a huge contract. The Dodgers would either be forced to eat part, or pick up somebody else’s huge contract. GM Ned Colletti has said bolstering the bullpen is the immediate focus. — Ken Gurnick
If the Dodgers add a long reliever, as general manager Ned Colletti recently said is a possibility, the primary candidate is familiar face Jamey Wright, who served in the role nicely in 2012. Wright, 39 this month, went 5-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 66 appearances for the Dodgers in 2012. But they didn’t bring him back in 2013, when he signed another Minor League contract and had an even better season for Tampa Bay (2-2, 3.09, 66 appearances). He also reached the post-season for the first time in an 18-year career. After re-signing Brian Wilson to set up last week, Colletti said he was still looking for right-handed and left-handed middle relievers, and possibly a long reliever. — Ken Gurnick
What a comic, that Hanley Ramirez. He posted an Instagram photo sitting in a plane with a caption “To Los Angeles .. Good news!!!” and the twittersphere concluded a contract extension was imminent.
One of his agents said Hanley was “messing around” with the posting and actually was on a flight to the Dominican Republic. Meanwhile, Dodgers officials arrive this weekend in Orlando for the Winter Meetings. A Ramirez extension is on the club’s off-season to-do list, but nothing appears imminent. — Ken Gurnick
Utilityman Elian Herrera was claimed off waivers by Milwaukee. The Dodgers view Dee Gordon as a utilityman candidate with better skills. Gordon is playing outfield in winter ball. — Ken Gurnick
Dodgers third-base coach Tim Wallach gets a second interview for the Mariners manager job. He’s also a candidate for Dodgers bench coach, so the Dodgers probably won’t finalize their coaching staff until Seattle’s manager job is filled. — Ken Gurnick