Are Dodgers Committed to Youth Movement?

Outlandish demands for established players have shocked the Dodgers into thinking that a complete dedication to a youth movement wouldn't be all that bad an idea. General Manager Ned Colletti echoed the interview the Boston Glove had with owner Frank McCourt -- the club won't trade multiple prospects for a single established player, no matter how talented.

To surrender a young starter (Billingsley) plus a couple established position players (Kemp, LaRoche, Loney) plus the number one pitching prospect in the system (Kershaw) for third baseman Miguel Cabrera, or pitching ace John Santana would leave gaping holes in the lineup that could not be filled by other players in the system and leave the lineup worse off than it was before.

It's sort of like trading your cow for a hand-full of magic beans. You end up with a big tree in your back yard with a giant at the top of it and not much else.

Colletti hinted to the Los Angeles Times that Manager Joe Torre could be the team's only high-profile acquisition of the off-season, leaving the club short on experience. But at a press conference announcing the exhibition game at the Coliseum against the Boston Red Sox on March 29, Colletti and manager Joe Torre said that might not be so bad.

"There's potential for change, but as we look at the young players that we played a lot this past year, we're less likely to fill in [positions with veterans] as much as we have in the past and more likely we'll give the younger players a greater opportunity," Colletti told the Times. "I'm curious to see how our young players, who really had a chance this past year to play full time, I'm curious to see what another year does."

Torre said he is "comfortable" with the team's nucleus being what it is today. Torre said that despite the reliance on youth, he is convinced that owners Frank and Jamie McCourt are "determined to bring a winner here."

"I've managed teams that when you present [something] to the organization, they say, 'We can't do it today,' " Torre said. "That's not the case here."

If some of the young players come through like Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley, James Loney and Matt Kemp have -- say Andy LaRoche at third base and Tony Abreu and Delwyn Young in backup positions -- things could work out wondrously well.

You will hear some complaining from members of the media who would swap any of the kids, as many as it would take, to get Cabrera and/or Santana. It would make their summer much more exciting covering the two outstanding players.

Colletti did say that he was still looking for pitching help but that, again, anyone available would cost too many bodies. Santana would not only cost multiple layers but would command a salary in the $18-20 million per year for six years.

Deja Vu being what it is, Los Angeles remembers a similar contract given to Kevin Brown, baseball's first $100 million-man who through various injuries returned nine wins a season over the contract.

Hiroki Kuroda, a free-agent pitcher from Japan, is still a possibility, however.

Colletti mentioned that they had set up an appointment to talk to Torii Hunter but he signed quickly with the Angeles. Red Sox World Series star Mike Lowell wanted a four- or five-year contract but considering his age (33) that was not acceptable.

Free agent center fielders Aaron Rowand and Andruw Jones are still a possibility but both will cost a bundle. Rowand may not have the same power in Dodger Stadium that he displayed in Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia and Jones' sudden drop in batting average (.222) is something to consider.

The Dodgers have an interest in free-agent first baseman Tony Clark, said his agent, John Boggs. Clark, 35, split time at first base for Arizona last season but still hit 17 home runs and drive in 51 runs. He has a two-year offer to return to the Diamondbacks.

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