Colletti denies Martin trade rumors
Dodgers GM wants to protect club's young nucleus of players
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are not trying to trade catcher Russell Martin, haven't yet spoken to the agent for free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia and are considering right-hander James McDonald for a bullpen role.
So, yes, there is more to this offseason than just Manny Ramirez, and general manager Ned Colletti offered an update Wednesday.
Responding to media speculation that he wants to trade Martin, Colletti said the opposite is true.
"We aren't trading Martin," he said. "I've never brought that up to anybody."
He said he might need to fill some of the holes created by 14 free agents with "a trade or two" but insisted he hasn't wavered from protecting the Dodgers' young nucleus.
"We've gotten to be a young club at most positions and we've set this course to be youthful and have the team nucleus be younger players and to move them around in a trade, we would have to get dramatically better," Colletti said.
Without venturing into tampering-infested waters, that's a long-winded explanation why the Dodgers weren't in on the Matt Holliday trade and have been part of the Jake Peavy buzz only because the San Diego pitcher has listed the Dodgers as a team for which he'd waive his no-trade powers.
To trade for franchise-type players like Holliday and Peavy, the Dodgers would be forced to include the Clayton Kershaws and Matt Kemps and several of them at that, creating more holes than Holliday or Peavy could fill.
"Everybody is looking for pitching back," Colletti said. "And then also a position player or players. It would take a package."
Colletti said he would like to add "one or two pitchers from outside," but there doesn't seem to be an urgency in making a case to Sabathia, the Ramirez of free-agent pitchers this winter.
"We'll call soon," he said.
Colletti said young internal pitching candidates McDonald, Scott Elbert and Eric Stults each could make the club with a good Spring Training.
McDonald has been a starter, but his fastball gained life when he was moved to the bullpen during a September callup that carried into the playoffs. With the future of 39-year-old closer Takashi Saito uncertain after a serious elbow injury, McDonald might emerge as a setup man/insurance policy for young closer Jonathan Broxton.
Elbert, healthy after shoulder surgery, could slide into free agent Joe Beimel's role as the second left-hander in the bullpen along with Hong-Chih Kuo.
The infield remains in flux. Colletti has said he would prefer to bring back shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is coming off back surgery and seeking a long-term contract. With Orlando Cabrera and Edgar Renteria also free agents, the Dodgers have options if they want a front-liner instead of Angel Berroa, Chin-lung Hu or Ivan DeJesus Jr. Blake DeWitt will be penciled in at second or third base, whichever position Colletti does not fill via free agency or trade.
Colletti said outfielder Andruw Jones is working out with a trainer in Atlanta, and the Dodgers are receiving regular updates. Teammates have said Jones doesn't want to return to Los Angeles, but Colletti said he hasn't heard that from Jones or his agent, Scott Boras. There is $21.1 million still owed to Jones, making him virtually untradeable.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.