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The winter meetings buzz is off and running: Is the Dodgers' James Loney on the market? Is Prince Fielder a target? [Updated]

December 6, 2010 | 12:39 pm

James_300 Don't you just love the winter meetings? So much talking and gossiping, so many rumors flying.

And now with text-messaging and Twitter, those tidbits arrive in hand almost as soon as they leave a front office executive's lips. It's almost like you’re there, except you don't have to stand around a hotel lobby for 12 hours.

So the meetings got underway Monday, and off they went, with so many rumors it's a challenge just to keep up.

For the Dodgers, however, one rumor quickly stood out. An old rumor, to be sure, but at least given a certain air of freshness back in Orlando.

FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports the Cubs, Nationals and Brewers are interested in first baseman James Loney and that he's available.

Loney is somewhat of a polarizing figure for many Dodgers fans. Some love his smooth glove and the way he has consistently driven in 90 runs a season. Others loathe his lack of power at a position that typically provides it.

Loney, however, is only 26 and still arbitration-eligible (read: relatively inexpensive), so he won't be dealt easily.

One good rumor deserves another, or at least a follow-up. And off they went. MLB.com’s Bill Ladson tweeted that in exchange for Loney going to the Nationals, the Dodgers wanted shortstop Ian Desmond and reliever Jordan Zimmerman, Ladson added: "I don't think that’s going to happen.’’

Apparently, you can never have too many shortstops, unless of course you're going to move one to third and have Casey Blake replace Loney at first.

YahooSports.com's Steve Henson followed with a tweet from a Dodgers source claiming there would be no Loney deal because he's too expensive to replace.

Really? There are still some decent free-agent first basemen out there (Adam LaRoche, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee) whose price might be coming down. Loney figures to get about $5 million in arbitration, so it's not like he's completely pocket change.

The only way he's traded to the Brewers figures to be if Prince Fielder is coming to L.A. in an unexpected mega-trade. That would certainly shorten Fielder's walk the next time he gets irate with a Dodgers reliever.

Loney is part of that young core the Dodgers have been building for the last four years, and you don’t deal part of your core unless you feel it's for an obvious upgrade. Or you're not doing cartwheels over your young core.

[Updated at 2:32 p.m.: Another hour, another rumor. Or at least, an updated rumor.

ESPN/LA.com's Tony Jackson is reporting that the Dodgers are in active discussions with the Brewers over a deal to send Loney and Jonathan Broxton to Milwaukee for Fielder.

Broxton is coming off a troubled season but is the guy Manager Don Mattingly said will be his closer to start the coming season. Fielder has one more year of arbitration coming before he can become a free agent. He hit .261 with 32 home runs and 83 RBIs last season, and earned $10.5 million.

But almost as quickly as that buzz started, The Times' Dylan Hernandez tweeted that General Manager Ned Colletti shot down that rumor.

A rumor here, a rumor there ...]

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: James Loney. Credit: Ed Andrieski / Associated Press

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