GM: L.A. pursuing deal to help offense
DALLAS -- Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Tuesday that he is pursuing a trade that would potentially improve the team's offense, specifically against left-handed pitching, adding that after talking to four or five clubs he has zeroed in on a particular player who would fit the club's needs.
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"Nothing is imminent," Colletti said. "We are trying to see if there is a player who would upgrade us a little bit."
Colletti wouldn't specify the player or the team, but he asked Alex Tamin, the club's director of baseball contracts, research and operations, to lay out for the assembled media in Colletti's winter meetings suite what three areas the team was looking to upgrade this winter. Tamin said two of those were the Dodgers' hitting against lefties and what Tamin referred to as "ballpark effect." By that, Tamin explained, he meant the fact the Dodgers play almost 100 games each year in three pitchers' parks, those being Dodger Stadium, San Diego's Petco Park and San Francisco's AT&T Park.
Colletti also said, when asked if the player he is trying to acquire is an everyday player, "He has been."
That would seem to suggest a veteran in the twilight of his career, a right-handed hitter and a guy who is more of a gap-to-gap, line-drive hitter than a power hitter. Colletti specifically said he wasn't looking for a flyball hitter.
The player likely would be a corner outfielder who could fill in for right fielder Andre Ethier against certain left-handed pitchers. Ethier was abysmal against lefties in 2011, hitting .220 with one home run and 13 RBIs and a .258 on-base percentage. Against righties, the lefty-hitting Ethier hit .321 with 10 homers, 49 RBIs and a .368 OBP.
Colletti also said that if a deal were to be consummated, it might not be before the end of the winter meetings on Thursday.
The Dodgers are in discussions with free-agent catcher Josh Bard on a possible minor league contract that would include an invitation to big league spring training, a move that would provide organizational depth behind the plate, a source confirmed late Tuesday night.
Bard, 33, is a .254 career hitter who spent the past two seasons with the Seattle Mariners. If he were to fail to make the team out of spring training -- and an injury to either A.J. Ellis or newly signed free agent Matt Treanor is probably his only shot -- he likely would share time at Triple-A with Tim Federowicz, with Federowicz presumably getting the bulk of the starts because of his status as the Dodgers' top catching prospect.
The Dodgers are prepared to begin the season with Ellis as their primary major league catcher and Treanor as the backup.
Meanwhile, Colletti also said he planned to meet with Alan Hendricks, the agent for free-agent pitcher Mike MacDougal, on Tuesday night. The Dodgers are hoping to retain MacDougal, whom they signed to a minor league deal last winter and who became a key member of their bullpen in 2011, posting a 2.05 ERA in 69 appearances. In order to keep him, though, the Dodgers will have to pony up considerably more than the $500,000 they paid him this year.
Colletti also said the Dodgers have no interest in Manny Ramirez, who is applying for reinstatement after abruptly retiring last year following a second positive test for performance-enhancing drugs. Ramirez will face a 50-game suspension -- what is left of what originally was a 100-game banishment -- that must be served immediately if he does sign with a club.
Lastly, it was learned Logan White, the team's assistant general manger in charge of scouting, will interview for the Houston Astros' general manager job, a source said on condition of anonymity.
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.