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Dodgers GM Ned Colletti all outward patience as trading deadline approaches

The days tick past, the pressure builds, and Ned Colletti shrugs. He’s leaning against a wall outside the Dodgers clubhouse. He looks up at a group of reporters, hands in pockets, cell phone chiming in his pocket, reposed as can be.

"You have to exercise patience," Colletti said.

The Dodgers are a team in need, in a competitive division where the addition of a key player or two before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline could make all the difference.

The Dodgers could use a starting pitcher, either at the front or back of the rotation. They could use a middle reliever. And with Manny Ramirez becoming more difficult to count upon, they could use an outfielder.

The assumption is that Colletti is hamstrung by the McCourts’ divorce, that a major move that would require taking on a lot of additional salary is beyond his grasp.

"That depends on what a lot is," he said. "If it makes sense as a baseball deal, we’ll do it. Am I going to take on exorbitant salary and give up a fist full of prospects -- I wouldn’t do that on any circumstances."

His main focus had been acquiring a reliable starting pitcher;  the team lacks an ace and a fifth starter.

But with George Sherrill unable to return to form, Ramon Troncoso struggling and back in the minors, and Ronald Belisario on the restricted list and reportedly in a substance abuse program, a steady middle reliever is also a need.

Colletti said Friday that he did not know when Belisario would return, or even whether he would be back this season at all.

"I don’t know," he said. "I don’t know have the answer and I’m not telling you, I just don’t have it."

The Dodgers’ bullpen is so unsettled that Friday they called up right-hander Kenley Jansen, who has been pitching for less than a year. Jensen was a catching prospect converted to pitcher last summer.

And then there is the outfield, where utility infielder Jamey Carroll has been starting this week in left, what with Manny on the disabled list for the third time this season. With Reed Johnson also on the disabled list, suddenly another outfielder is of interest.

"A little bit, but not to the extent of pitching," he said. "The outfield has become a little more of a concern than in the past, not  just because of Manny but also because Reed Johnson."

Last year, Colletti brought in Sherrill at the trading deadline, and later Vicente Padilla. The year before, it was Manny and Casey Blake. He has a history.

But this season, the pitching needs are clear in the rotation and bullpen.

"Wherever a potential deal will take us," he said. "If it was one or both, you do it. If it’s only one, we’re not going to pass it up because it can’t fill the other one."

Colletti has a reputation for not always returning other teams’ phone calls, though he joked Friday that it was completely opposite this year.

"I don’t owe anybody a call," he said. "Everybody owes me a call. And that’s a good thing."

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (5)

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Talk doesn't cook rice, Ned.

The Rays want to dump B.J. Upton and need a DH, while the Dodgers probably wouldn't mind getting rid of Manny. Upton needs a change of scenery and Manny wants to go the AL and would probably love playing in Florida.

Can the SF Giants asst. GM include himself in a deal? With an owner already named rather than later?

Prove youself. Your lack of action last month cost us a handful of games in the loss column and another month of the season. The Rangers showed the new way: teams don't have to wait until July 31 anymore. They're getting Cliff Lee's 5th start on Aug. 1, they've doubled their lead in the AL West since July 1 and are 7 up starting today. Dodgers were 2 1/2 back July 1 and are 6 back and going nowhere fast today.

Play a disaster over the next 10 days with the Pads and Giants and the season will be over. The pitcher pickups should have already been brought in for this stretch of the season. Following this hyped 10-game stretch, its a "break" to face Strasberg (he'll have Friday's game) and the Nats the very next series, our biggest comparable stretches of games are a week in Philly and Atlanta Aug. 10-16 and a 9-game run against SF, SD and Colorado Sept. 14-23.

To repeat, the pitching help should have been here in July. It was needed before then.

Ned is under contract with the Dodgers for an undisclosed number of years. He may well be the only Dodger employee who will still be around in 3 or 4 years besides Frank. He has literally and figuratively signed a pact with the devil, McCheapskate, and no amount of good press will convince me that he is willing to make any deal that will add salary to this abomination of a season.

Unless, those talks are for train wrecks Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley and BJ Upton. Expect to get those players AND monetary concessions to offset the costs of divorce attorneys, 3 parasitic grown sons on the payroll, Jamie's 50 youth fields, movable beer kiosks, unsold Manny dreadlocks, etc.

Remember nobody wanted Manny or Vicente Padilla either, and look how Ned smoothly lucked into those transactions. AND they have behaved very well as Dodgers.

As for me, I think CZ, MB and BJ would look great in Dodger Blue. And Vinny would have lots of fun recollections of clubhouse chemistry over the years to banter about. This season is already over, but these trades must happen for me to continue watching your 2010 Blue Crew.

Genius idea Mike, seriously. Manny has hit well but the lack of power might dissuade the Rays. Upton would be a huge chemistry experiment given what we have learned about Kemp this year. Would we suddenly have two Upton style headcases both needing new scenery or would one happily play left, or right with Ethier happily moving to left?


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