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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Dodgers reach out to Royals

By Tony Jackson
ESPNLosAngeles.com

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have made at least one contact with the Kansas City Royals at this week's winter meetings, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Tuesday. Although Colletti wouldn't identify what players were discussed, the call clearly was about the same player almost every call to the Royals is about these days, former American League Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke.

Even if the Royals do trade Greinke this winter -- which is far from a given because he is signed through 2012, although at a price ($27 million over the next two seasons) that seems steep in light of the Royals' notoriously penny-pinching ways -- the chance that he will end up with the Dodgers seems slim.

Obviously, the Royals are seeking a large package of players in return for Greinke if they do decide to trade him. The Dodgers, despite a flurry of free-agent signings so far this offseason, still appear thin at some spots and probably aren't in a position to deal multiple major league players for one starting pitcher, no matter how good he is.

Besides, the Dodgers already have five established starters in Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Jon Garland and have agreed in principle on an incentive-laden, one-year, $2 million contract with a sixth in Vicente Padilla.

"I'm trying to find out when you have too many [starting pitchers],'' Colletti joked. "I haven't had too many yet.''

Oeltjen, Dodgers reach deal

The Dodgers have reached an agreement on a minor league contract with one of the arbitration-eligible players they non-tendered last week, but it wasn't Russell Martin or George Sherrill.

Trent Oeltjen, a seldom-used outfielder from Australia, agreed to terms on a minor league deal that includes an invitation to big league spring training. The Dodgers signed Oeltjen on July 6, four days after he was released by the Milwaukee Brewers organization, and promoted him on Sept. 7 from Triple-A Albuquerque to the majors, where he hit .217 with a .357 on-base percentage in 14 games for the Dodgers.

Also, the Dodgers are in negotiations on a minor league contract with longtime major league infielder Juan Castro, who potentially would be joining the organization for the fourth time. Castro played in one game for the Dodgers on Aug. 15 after being released by the Philadelphia Phillies, then was sent to the minors. The Dodgers tried to call him up in September, but discovered he was ineligible due to a rule technicality.

Taylor hired as advance scout

Wade Taylor, a teammate of Dodgers manager Don Mattingly with the New York Yankees in 1991, has been hired by the Dodgers as their new advance scout. Taylor, 45, replaces Mark Weidemaier, the Dodgers' longtime advance scout who left the organization after the season to accept a similar position with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Taylor spent the past four seasons as a pro scout for the Washington Nationals. Before that, he served as an advance scout for the Yankees for 11 seasons while Joe Torre was the team's manager. Mattingly was the Yankees hitting or bench coach for much of that time.

Taylor, a right-hander, made 23 appearances (22 starts) in the majors, all of them with the Yankees in 1991. He went 7-12 with a 6.27 ERA.

The Dodgers also hired Bill Latham, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, as a pro scout.

Carroll pays a visit

Dodgers infielder Jamey Carroll, who lives in nearby Rockledge, Fla., stopped by the winter meetings to see some friends. Carroll said he has been paying close attention to the team's offseason maneuverings and likes what he sees.

"I think it has been good,'' Carroll said. "Ned has been pretty aggressive, and I'm excited about what we have added. We have a solid pitching staff, and we added [infielder Juan] Uribe. He should help our lineup. I'm excited to see if there is anything left to do.''

Debus joins Mets

Former Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa won't be a part of the New York Mets coaching staff despite the fact he previously coached under new Mets manager Terry Collins with the Anaheim Angels in the late 1990s, a Mets source said.

However, longtime Dodgers minor league coach Jon Debus said he will be a part of Collins' staff as bullpen coach. Debus and Collins became close when Collins was running the Dodgers minor league system, and Debus became the bench coach for the Orix Buffaloes when Collins became their manager in 2007. Debus also served as the Dodgers bullpen coach under then-manager Jim Tracy in 2005.

Tracy, now the manager of the Colorado Rockies, was released from an Orlando-area hospital and returned to his home near Sarasota. Tracy had been transported to the hospital by ambulance after he collapsed in the hotel lobby here at about 1 a.m. on Monday morning.

Tracy was diagnosed with a mild arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.