Torre Thinks/Wishes Rodriguez could join Dodg news services reports that Joe Torre feels there is a chance Alex Rodriguez could be a Dodger in 2008. "It's possible," Torre said, repeating that phrase twice as a small grin crept across his face. "You've got four or five clubs maybe that figure to be in the sweepstakes. There aren't a lot of clubs that are going to be able to pay the money."

There is no way of knowing if he was speaking out of turn, knowing the Dodgers plans, or could, of course, have been indulging in wishful thinking.

Torre walked away from a Yankee offer of $5 million for the 2008 season after 12 seasons as manager last month. Rodriguez also opted out of his $252 million, 10-year contract and became the biggest prize on the free-agent market.

Torre confirmed the two had a better relationship this season in New York. "All I know is it was very comfortable for both of us," the manager said. "And I think my being uncomfortable came from the fact that I didn't think he was as comfortable. This year he just seemed to be a different guy in spring training."

The Angels, Mets, Giants and Red Sox have been rumored to be interested in Rodriguez and it will take a team with deep pockets to ace the exceptional hitter. His agent, Scott Boras, asked the Yankees to make a $350 million offer just to get a meeting with A-Rod before he opted out of his deal. The Yankees say they're out of the running, but that might be a smoke screen.

The Yankees indicated that they were going to maintain rights to A-Rod in order to get a first round pick in the '08 draft plus a supplemental pick. However, if LA signed him, they would retain their first round pick. LA might lose a 2nd round pick and the Yankees would get a pick in the supplemental round.

Torre said owners Frank and Jamie McCourt are committed to making the Dodgers consistent winners again. "All I can tell you, I know the McCourts are certainly dedicated to putting the Dodger franchise on the right track. They understand the pride factor. We talked about that a lot," Torre said.

"But again, they're businesspeople. They're certainly going to take into consideration what they can do that makes sense. And the fact that they have a lot of young players certainly could help make their decision, too."

Torre said he's still in the process of completing his coaching staff with the Dodgers. Don Mattingly, who will be the hitting coach, attended the event. However, Lee Mazzilli said he has decided to turn down Torre's offer to be a coach.

Tsao Outrighted to AAA-- The Dodgers outrighted reliever Chin-hui Tsao to Triple-A Las Vegas and are awaiting Tsao's decision to accept or reject and choose free agency. Tsao, 26, spent most of the last four months of this season on the disabled list with a recurrence of shoulder problems that had him sidelined for most of the previous two seasons while with Colorado. Before his injury, Tsao displayed the overpowering stuff that made him the Rockies closer at one point. In 21 games, opponents hit only .205 off him.

Halloween 13-- Even if you are a fan of horror movies, if you are a Dodger fan this item might be the most frightening thing you've experienced in some time, making Stephen King's writings look look like Elizabeth Barrett-Browning. A rumor at the Winter Meetings has Florida asking Andy LaRoche, Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp for Miguel Cabrara-gordo.

Cabrera is admittedly a spectacular hitter, but unless he is thinking to transferring to the Miami Dolphins as a defensive lineman, his weight must be taken into the equation.

He ranked 17th in range factor among third basemen in 2007 (only one player in MLB had more errors than his 23) and some general managers feel that within a year or so he will be moved to first base out of necessity.

That would give you a Manny Ramirez-style player, suited better as an American League designated hitter while giving up our best pitching prospect (Kershaw), our best power prospect (Kemp) and what many believe will be a more than solid major league third baseman LaRoche.

Cold Rain Cools Dodgers-- From July 7-19 the Dodgers banged out 127 hits, ringing up 12 hits or more hits in five consecutive games, and just a week later beat Colorado in the first of what was scheduled to be a four-game series. They led the N.L. West at that time and were nine games over .500.

The second game of the Rockies series was rained out and in that downpour something seemingly was washed out of the Los Angeles team. The rest of the season they recorded a 25-44 record, including 10 losses in 12 games to the Colorado team, and landed with a thud in fourth place.

Scout Lon Joyce Honored-- Our Congratulations to Dodger scout Lon Joyce, who earned the annual Distinguished Scouts Award for 2007 at the Professional Baseball Representatives annual banquet recently in Whispering Pines, NC. Lon has helped find Edwin Jackson and Reggie Abercrombie, as well as current Dodger minor leaguers Brian Akin and Russell Mitchell and 2007 draftees Alex Garabedian (8th round catcher) and Franklin Jacobs (17th round first baseman), among others.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Dave Jauss, who was rumored to be moving to Pittsburgh, has signed with the Baltimore Orioles as their bench coach... The New York Mets signed former Dodger Marlin Anderson to a two-year, $2.2 million contract. ...Tampa Bay knocked the devil out of their name, announcing they will be called just the "Rays" from now on.