Trade Talk Wild as Deadline Nears

Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern Time is the trading deadline. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti didn't hesitate last year, in his first season on the job, making made five trades in the week before the deadline a year ago, acquiring Greg Maddux, Wilson Betemit and Julio Lugo.

However, this year, Colletti sees a market where it is very difficult to be that active. "There's going to have to be more sellers," he said. "It's very narrow right now. I've only heard two marquee names that are out there." Colletti said he is even "less inclined" to trade those players than he was a year ago. "Because we know more about them. Our younger players are farther along than they were a year ago," Colletti said. "Our situation is different than a lot of teams. Most of the young players people are asking for are already on our major-league club. "There aren't many contending teams willing to trade good, young players off their 25-man roster." One player mentioned, Andre Ethier, has already been traded once, coming to the Dodgers in a deal for Milton Bradley, Colletti's first trade as Dodgers GM. He realizes another move is always possible, but he hopes Colletti protects what is already building in Los Angeles.

"We've got to look at now and what we have now," Ethier said. "But at the same time, the front office is trying to build for the future. By getting rid of young guys that they've got up here and that are trying to establish themselves in the big leagues kind of defeats the purpose.

"To say they'll give up young players like myself or Kemp for a one-year (upgrade), I guess it depends on what their motives are.

If they feel that this is the year that they have to get something done and they want to make the push, that's their choice and their decision to make. We're an important ingredient to what we're doing here but at the same time we're a commodity and can be traded freely."

A major-league source reports the Braves have offering the Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Class AA left-hander Matt Harrison and Class A shortstop Elvis Andrus for slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira.

The report said the Dodgers remain the wild card in the Teixeira sweepstakes and have proposed first baseman James Loney, outfielder Andre Ethier and Class AAA right-hander John Meloan for Teixeira and right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit, according to one source. But a close source to the Dodgers says this rumor is entirely false.

The Dodgers' efforts to bolster their pitching staff appears to be heavily focused on Kansas City closer Octavio Dotel, whom the perpetually rebuilding Royals believe will command at least one of another club's top prospects.

However, the Dodgers are far from the only team interested in landing Dotel, who would provide a seventh-inning bridge to setup man Jonathan Broxton and closer Takashi Saito. Seattle and Cleveland also are closing in, with about five other clubs reportedly interested.

One Dodgers prospect in whom the Royals are believed to have interest is Triple-A Las Vegas shortstop Chin-lung Hu, the Most Valuable Player in this year's All-Star Futures Game and a player who started out on fire when he was promoted to Las Vegas from Double-A Jacksonville earlier this month before cooling off in recent games.

Although Hu has long been considered the Dodgers' shortstop of the future, he will be blocked by Rafael Furcal at least through next season, when Furcal's contract expires. And the presence of Ivan DeJesus Jr., who is hitting .285 for the Dodgers' advanced Single-A Inland Empire affiliate, might have a higher upside than Hu and could render Hu expendable.

The Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Braves and Cubs all are interested in Royals right-hander Zack Greinke, but it is doubtful the Royals would trade him unless they were overwhelmed. Greinke, 23, has excelled as a reliever this season, and some teams still like him as a starter. The Royals, though, control him through 2010.

The Royals do plan to trade closer Octavio Dotel, but maybe not to the Dodgers, the early front-runner.

The Dodgers also are considering other relievers, and rather than continue waiting, the Royals might strike the best deal they can with another club, most likely the Indians.