LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers continue to work toward a deal to give Hiroki Kuroda a chance for postseason glory, general manager Ned Colletti said Friday."I want to do what's good for him, what he's comfortable with, if it can help us," said Colletti. "If it gets to the point where it makes sense for us, the decision will be his." The teams known to have exchanged player names with the Dodgers for Kuroda are the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Tigers and Rangers -- however, that list is believed to be down to two or three. The 36-year-old Kuroda shifted into news-blackout mode Friday, issuing polite "no comments" when asked trade questions. But he has a total no-trade clause in his contract, so if he had no interest in moving he could have invoked that weeks ago and prevented further speculation. The fact that it's gone on this long indicates that he will accept a move he likes. "I don't want it taken the wrong way," he said. "I'll keep my mouth shut." Yet after his most recent loss Monday night, Kuroda told the Kyoto Times, "I may be inclined to think about" a trade.
The Dodgers are seeking a significant prospect and/or Major League-ready player in return, preferably a catcher, a power hitter or a starting pitcher."Again, I can't really comment," Kuroda said when asked if the Dodgers had come to him with a deal and team to consider. "At this time I'd rather not comment." With the Trade Deadline Sunday afternoon, Colletti indicated he might need to present Kuroda with a destination by Saturday. "I'm not going to be able to spring it on him at 12:30 Sunday," he said. "He needs time to contemplate what he wants to do." Colletti said he's "under no orders to shed salary." Kuroda is owned about $4 million this year and will be a free agent after this season. "I have tremendous respect for him and what he's done," said Colletti. "He came here four years ago and it's not lost on me four years later. You think about big games, some of our biggest games were pitched by him. He's a stand-up guy." Kuroda said he's at "a crucial crossroads" and he'd "rather not answer any question lightly." He said information is being relayed from the Dodgers to his agent to his management company to him. His wife and children are with him in California, and he said they would respect his decision. Meanwhile, there is limited interest in shortstop Rafael Furcal. Like Kuroda, Furcal has about $4 million remaining on his contract with free agency this winter. Unlike Kuroda, Furcal has struggled through an injury-plagued season, although he has elevated his game in the last two weeks. Unlike Kuroda, the Dodgers have a shortstop replacement for Furcal in Dee Gordon, which provides added incentive for both sides. When Gordon gets a September callup, the Dodgers will need to play him to determine if he's ready to take the position next year. Which means Furcal will be on the bench when he needs to be playing to show clubs he deserves a contract for next year. "I understand they want to play Gordon. He reminds me of when I was young," said the 33-year-old Furcal. "But I'll want to play, too. The way I feel now, I can play another five years." As a 10-year veteran with the last five years on his current club, Furcal also has no-trade rights. He said he wouldn't want to leave Los Angeles, but the chance to play with a contender will be impossible to turn down. St. Louis, Arizona and Furcal's original club, Atlanta, have talked to the Dodgers about acquiring him. Clubs have expressed interest in infielder Jamey Carroll -- among them Arizona, Cleveland, Atlanta and Milwaukee -- but the Dodgers want more in return than is being offered. There also have been inquiries about catchers Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.