Author Archive

Crawford Could Make for a Crowd

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

Jamey Wright on Dodgers Radar

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

Hanley the Prankster?

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.

Not exactly.

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

Dodgers Lose Herrera to Brewers

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 Wait on Wallach

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

Marmol a Low-Risk Deal for Dodgers

On the surface, the Carlos Marmol for Matt Guerrier deal looks like a “my problem for your problem” salary swap, but the Dodgers are convinced they got something for almost nothing. They had already given up on Guerrier. They are hopeful of salvaging Marmol as at least a veteran middle reliever, maybe more if they can work out an arm slot flaw during an Arizona mechanics rehab. A fresh start won’t hurt either, the team believes, considering the heat he was taking from fans in Chicago. And even if he’s a complete bust, the Dodgers picked up $209,700 in international signing cap room, an area where they suddenly have more money to spend than rules will allow after a decade of neglect. The $500,000 additional salary they’ve taken on is chump change compared to the hundreds of millions they picked up last year. — Ken Gurnick

Marmol, Guerrier Swap Close

The Dodgers and Cubs are closing in on a deal that would swap DFA’d relievers Carlos Marmol and Matt Guerrier. The trade also could include a swap of draft choices. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Have Limited Interest in Gonzalez

The Dodgers do not view Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez as a mound version of Yasiel Puig and their interest in the 26-year-old Cuban right-handed pitcher is limited. Mostly, their interest in paying Gonzalez anywhere near the $42 million investment they made in fellow Cuban defector Puig is extremely limited, according to a baseball source. Gonzalez is reportedly seeking a bonus greater than Puig’s, and chances of that coming from the Dodgers is almost nil. The Dodgers joined the Cubs, Angels and Red Sox, among others, in scouting Gonzalez last week in Mexico. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Shopping List Dwindles

The trade for utilityman Skip Schumaker, expected to be announced after he passes a physical exam, will leave the Dodgers needing only a left-handed reliever and a backup corner infielder from their stated off-season goals. The recent signings of Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu loaded up the starting rotation and Schumaker becomes the fourth outfielder who not only has the center-field skills to back up Matt Kemp, but will receive added at-bats when second baseman Mark Ellis needs a rest. Still needed is a bullpen replacement for lefty Randy Choate and a right-handed hitting corner infielder who can spell Adrian Gonzalez at first base and provide insurance for Luis Cruz at third base. The Dodgers also want to add a veteran catcher at Triple-A., as rookie Tim Federowicz will back up A.J. Ellis in Los Angeles. — Ken Gurnick

Dodgers Pitching Surplus Could Lead to Trades

General manager Ned Colletti said he held some talks at last week’s Winter Meetings involving Dodgers pitcher that would be available for trade if he was successful in obtaining two starting pitchers. Now that Colletti has added Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu to the starting rotation, veterans Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang are in play, although probably not both until the health of Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly is better established during Spring Training. Colletti didn’t even rule out the possibility of taking his eight current starting pitchers to Spring Training. — Ken Gurnick