Ned Colletti: Dodgers budget may vary
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Three weeks after saying he had been given a player-payroll budget for next year and hinting that budget might be more than it was in 2011, Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti conceded on Wednesday that figure could change in the wake of a divorce settlement reached earlier this week by Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his estranged wife, former Dodger chief executive officer Jamie McCourt.
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Under terms of the settlement, Jamie McCourt disavows any claim to ownership of the club and Frank McCourt must pay her $130 million.
"I don't think (the budget) is ever really set in stone,'' said Colletti, who was watching several of the Dodgers' top prospects compete in the Arizona Fall League. "You start out with a basic idea to get you started and adjust as need be. I have a basic idea, always knowing that it could be adjusted either way.''
Colletti didn't specifically address potential ways, if any, in which the budget could be directly impacted by either the settlement or a bankruptcy court hearing scheduled to begin on Oct. 31 that could determine Frank McCourt's ability to maintain ownership of the franchise.
Colletti also said he has had a couple of conversations with Dave Stewart, the agent for Dodgers center fielder and National League Most Valuable Player candidate Matt Kemp, but that no serious talks are under way as of yet on a possible contract extension for Kemp, who could become a free agent after next season if the Dodgers don't lock him up with a long-term deal.
Additionally, Colletti said he hasn't been given any indication whether right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, a potential free agent this winter, is leaning toward re-signing with the Dodgers or returning to his native Japan to finish his career with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, for which he pitched for 11 seasons before joining the Dodgers in 2008.
Kuroda's decision could have a major effect on how the Dodgers approach the offseason because his departure would leave a big hole in their starting rotation after he went 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA and 202 innings pitched this year, but Colletti said there is no urgency for Kuroda to make up his mind.
"If we get down the road with other people once free agency begins, you would have to have an answer,'' Colletti said. "We're not there yet. By the time we get there, I think we will have more of a feel for what his decision is.''
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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