Dodgers Hunt for Manager Taking Time

The Dodgers' search for a new manager will probably take a while. New general manager Ned Colletti said that while he hadn't formally requested permission from other teams to speak with potential candidates currently under contract, he would do so shortly. "The people that I've got under consideration, I'm doing some more legwork on," Colletti said during a conference call. "There's still three or four, maybe five out there." Colletti said he is in the process of narrowing that list.

Colletti, assistant GM Kim Ng, vice president of scouting and player development Roy Smith and director of amateur scouting Logan White met with former big league manager Jim Fregosi for about three hours during the weekend in Tampa, Fla. Colletti was there to attend the wedding of his former boss, San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean.

"I think it was good," Colletti said. "I'd say it was positive, more informative than anything, but positive."

Colletti said he's spoken twice with Terry Collins, the team's director of player development and another former big league manager.

He's done a great job with the farm system. Terry and his group have been incredible in the development phase,'' Colletti said. "I can't say enough good things about him. That said, I'm still not sure about the managerial part of it. We'll have to see how that goes.''

Colletti said there was no timetable to hire a replacement for Tracy, although he'd like to have it done by the time the Winter Meetings begin Dec. 5 in Dallas.

"I like to be thorough before I do it," he said. "You'd love to have one today. We're going to make sure we take as much time as it takes without wasting time. I don't guarantee it's going to be done by the Winter Meetings."

The first one he contacted said he wasn't interested.

Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Bud Black told the Dodgers on Tuesday he is not interested in being a candidate for their vacant managerial job.

Angels executive Tim Mead confirmed that new Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti called Angels GM Bill Stoneman to ask permission to interview Black.

"They went through the formality and followed protocol," Mead said. "Ned called and asked for permission and Bill gave it to him."

However, Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said Black declined the opportunity, as he has with other past jobs, because he didn't want to have to move his family from the San Diego area.

As for strengthening the team, Colletti mentioned first base, third base and the outfield as areas of need. He also said he hasn't been given a set figure concerning the team's payroll.

"I've conversed with Frank and Jamie about what I think we need, who I think we need," he said, referring to Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. "I haven't been told to stop or slow down."

Jim Fregosi wants the Dodgers' vacant managerial job, but was quick to point out as reports swirled that he'd already been offered the job by new Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.

"That's not true," said Fregosi. "I thought the interview went well, but Ned made it clear he had a few other people to talk to. I don't expect to hear anything until after Thanksgiving."

In his spare time, Colletti has spent time on a plan to fill glaring holes at third base, first base, the outfield and the starting pitching rotation, and he hopes to address as many of those as he can through free agency and trades.

Colletti said he has expressed to McCourt his visions for the team, adding an outfielder such as free agent Brian Giles, who is expected to draw as much as $11 million a year, a third baseman such as Nomar Garciaparra, who could fill in at shortstop as Cesar Izturis heals from Tommy John surgery, and another starting pitcher.

He also spoke by phone to Marlins G.M. Larry Beinfest, who has been instructed by ownership to cut payroll by moving as many high-priced Marlins as possible, including Carlos Delgado, Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett.

Of the potentially available Marlins, center fielder and leadoff hitter Juan Pierre, and first baseman and middle-of-the-order hitter Delgado would make the most sense, given Dodger needs in the outfield and at first base.

Pierre, who is arbitration eligible, could be a fit for the Dodgers. Pierre, 28, struggled some in 2005 (.276, 2 HR, 47 RBI), but he is speedy (his 57 stolen bases ranked second in the NL in 2005 and he is the only active player to post five-straight 40-plus stolen-base seasons) and he could bat leadoff. In 2004 Pierre batted .326 with three homers and 49 RBI, and his 221 hits ranked second in the majors.

Delgado comes with a bulky price tag -- salaries of $13.5 million next season, $14.5 million in 2007 and $16 million in 2008. . Colletti said owner Frank McCourt has not yet set his payroll but organizational sources have estimated it to be as low as $75 million, $6 million less than last season.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Former Las Vegas batting coach George Hendrick joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as part of new manager Joe Maddon's coaching staff. Butcher will be the team's pitching coach and Hendrick will be the first-base coach ...Colletti indicated the top front office aides he inherited from Paul DePodesta -- vice presidents Kim Ng and Roy Smith, farm director Terry Collins and scouting director Logan White -- remain in place.

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