07/17/12 1:35 AM ET
Trade talks keep Dodgers busy before Deadline
By Alex Angert / MLB.com
"I know we are trying to do everything we can, but I don't know if you can just pull guys off trees," he said. "People just aren't going to hand you guys."
From conversations he has had with general manager Ned Colletti and club president Stan Kasten, the team is exploring every option in an aggressive manner, and he has been assured the team is going to continue that approach.
"We are searching everywhere we can to make this team better," Mattingly said.
Names such as Cubs righty Ryan Dempster, Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez and Phillies lefty Cole Hamels have been mentioned in connection with the Dodgers, who are seeking a power-hitting corner infielder, a starting pitcher and a left-handed reliever with the July 31 Trade Deadline approaching. The team lacks depth in the farm system in terms of highly desirable prospects, but it has the financial ability to take on a bad contract.
Billingsley throws but unlikely to start Tuesday
LOS ANGELES -- Manager Don Mattingly said he doubts Tuesday's starter will be Chad Billingsley, who took an MRI on Monday -- his second in as many days -- that revealed only inflammation in his sore elbow. Billingsley played catch before Monday's game and said it went well.
Mattingly still hadn't named a Tuesday starter following the Dodgers' 3-2 loss to the Phillies on Monday.
Mattingly added the team was being cautious with scratching Billingsley from his scheduled start on Sunday. After Monday's game, the manager said the team doesn't want to push the panic button and feel forced to start Billingsley and risk further injury. Mattingly said he doesn't foresee any time needed on the disabled list and expects Billingsley to miss just this one start.
As far as Tuesday's starter, Mattingly said there is a chance the team will call somebody up who is on the 40-man roster, and he planned to talk with general manager Ned Colletti after Monday's game. He ruled out reliever Jamey Wright, who hasn't started since 2007 and threw one inning Sunday.
That callup could be Stephen Fife, who was scratched from his scheduled start on Monday for Triple-A Albuquerque. Fife is 7-5 with a 4.53 ERA in 18 starts with the Isotopes this season.
A likely scenario would be the team calls up Fife to start Tuesday and sends down either Josh Wall or Shawn Tolleson, who pitched two innings in relief on Monday. Javy Guerra, who is expected back Tuesday or Wednesday from visiting his father in Mexico, would likely return from the bereavement list on Wednesday, when the team sends Fife back down after making the spot start.
Mattingly standing by Uribe amid struggles
LOS ANGELES -- Despite Juan Uribe's 1-for-31 slump, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he's sticking by his third baseman in hopes he'll turn things around.
"Never," he said in response to giving up on Uribe. "From the standpoint of he's here, we've got to try to keep working and keep trying to get something out of him. I know it hasn't been pretty, but to give up on a guy, that is just quitting and that's not in my DNA. I just don't think that's right."
After missing 28 games with an injured left wrist, Uribe has picked up only six hits since returning on June 11. He is batting .193 on the season with only 26 hits and 13 RBIs in 135 at-bats.
But Mattingly isn't planning on not playing Uribe altogether.
"As long as he'll keep working and trying, I don't think we can give up," said Mattingly, who said the same thing about first baseman James Loney. "Does that mean he's going to play a ton? Not necessarily. But that doesn't mean you give up on him. I have to look at other options at third base."
On Monday, Jerry Hairston started at third despite a pair of costly throwing errors on Sunday.
And while the Dodgers are looking for an upgrade at the position going forward, the team isn't rushing to bring up Josh Fields from Triple-A Albuquerque, thanks to a lack of roster spots. However, that doesn't mean the organization hasn't noticed he is hitting .343 with eight home runs and 50 RBIs for Albuquerque.
"We've paid attention to Josh Fields. I've seen what he has been doing," Mattingly said. "Right now, he's not on the [40-man] roster, so it involves making a move that somebody has to come off and that is where you run into trouble."
Fields hit 23 home runs in 2007 as a rookie with the White Sox and he has the ability to play first and third base, two positions the Dodgers are seeking to improve.
Mattingly said moving injured reliever Todd Coffey to the 60-day disabled list could be an option, but the possibility of adding a piece at the Trade Deadline and an unwillingness to give up on a current players makes that an unlikely move.
"Making a move entitles taking somebody off and losing another guy," Mattingly said. "It depends who you are willing to lose."
Possible trade chip Rollins right at home in Calif.
LOS ANGELES -- Jimmy Rollins loves California.
He was born and raised in Alameda, just outside Oakland and just across the bay from San Francisco. But he also tweeted his love for the entire state Sunday, including Southern California, which is interesting only because the Dodgers and Giants might try to acquire a shortstop before the July 31 Trade Deadline, and the Phillies might be willing to trade him.
But it won't be easy.
The first trick in any potential Rollins trade: He is owed about $25.7 million through 2014, which does not include an $11 million option for 2015 that automatically vests based on 600 plate appearances in 2014 or 1,100 plate appearances in 2013-14. The option is pretty easily attainable, if Rollins stays healthy. It also is a lot of money.
The second trick in any potential Rollins trade: He has 5-and-10 trade rights, meaning he must approve any trade. Rollins could require a team pick up the $11 million option to accept it, which could be a deal killer.
So would Rollins waive his trade rights?
"It's not a question to be answered," he said.
Rollins was asked a few more times, but he declined to offer any sort of a concrete answer. Was he playing coy, not saying yes, but not saying no?
"You're going to write whatever you want to write," he said. "You want to write a story."
Ah, but it would be a much more interesting story if he answered the question.
"I'm not going to help you write that story," he said.
It is mentioned the Phillies look like sellers, there are two California teams that could be interested in him and he is a California guy.
"Northern California," he said.
Hey, the Giants are a Northern California team. They could use a shortstop.
"Yeah, that's true," he said with a smile.