Mattingly Taking Larger Part in Club

New Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly has been rumored to be the heir apparent to manager Joe Torre when Torre's contract expires after the 2010 season. The fact that Torre is not attending these meetings but Mattingly is, give added strength to the rumors.

Mattingly, and the reporters, stop by Colletti's suite for their daily briefing, along with player development director DeJon Watson and special assistants Vance Lovelace and Bill Mueller.

?Coaches rarely attend the winter meetings. Managers, however, almost always attend and are part of their GMs' inner circle, participating in meetings along with all the top front-office brass.

So, as my great, great Uncle Sherlock would say, "Elementary." Mattingly is apparently the Dodgers' manager-in-waiting.

And speaking of the meetings, General Manager Ned Colletti said that his inability to trade for a middle-of-the-lineup bat or a top-of-the-rotation arm over the first two days of the winter meetings has given him a greater appreciation for his team's young talent.

After trade negotiatons for Miguel Cabrera and and and they don't expect to land Johan Santana.

But General Manager Ned Colletti said that his inability to trade for a middle-of-the-lineup bat or a top-of-the-rotation arm over the first two days of the winter meetings has given him a greater appreciation for his team's young talent.

Colletti said the Marlins wanted a four-player package for Cabrera that included James Loney, Matt Kemp and Kershaw, which made him "reexamine" Loney and Kemp and led him to asking himself why they couldn't fill that role.

Colletti says he believes that top prospect Clayton Kershaw and 23-year-old right-hander Chad Billingsley will develop into the kind of pitchers that he is chasing today.

Kershaw is routinely asked for in trade talks, as is reliever Jonathan Broxton, of whom Colletti said, "I don't have any interest in trading Broxton."

The Dodgers are exploring other ways to upgrade at third base, expressing an interest in free agent Tadahito Iguchi, according to Iguchi's agent, Rocky Hall. Another option could be to trade for Troy Glaus of Toronto. Another possibility would be a deal for the Cardinals' Scott Rolen, but Colletti said the Dodgers aren't close to a deal with St. Louis.

Talks with free-agent center fielders Andruw Jones and Aaron Rowand remained stalled, Colletti said, adding annual salary and that length of a potential contract remain points of contention with both players. The Dodgers have asked the Milwaukee Brewers about outfielder Bill Hall, according to a major league source. And they met with the Baltimore Orioles, but Colletti said they weren't any closer to making a deal with them. The Dodgers have talked to the Orioles about left-hander Erik Bedard but postponed a meeting with the Oakland Athletics. The Dodgers were expected to inquire about pitchers Joe Blanton and Dan Haren.

Baseball America released the Dodgers' top 10 Minor League prospects and those with the Best Tools. Pick up the latest copy to get their full story on these outstanding players.
Top 10	
      2008		2007
 1) Clayton Kershaw	LaRoche
 2) Andy LaRoche	Kershaw
 3) Chin-Lung Hu	Elbert
 4) Scott Elbert	James Loney
 5) Blake DeWitt	Tony Abreu
 6) Chris Withrow	Ivan De Jesus
 7) James McDonald	Meloan
 8) Jon Meloan	        DeWitt
 9) Delwyn Young	Josh Bell
10) Pedro Baez	        Preston Mattingly

 Tools	                2008	        2007
Best Hitter	        Young	        Loney
Best Power	        LaRoche	        LaRoche
Plate Discipline	De Jesus	Cory Dunlap
Fastest Runner	        Jovanny Rosario	Trayvon Robinson
Best Athlete	        Elbert	        Mattingly
Best Fastball	        Kershaw	        Kershaw
Best Curve	        McDonald	Elbert
Best Slider	        Greg Miller	Meloan
Best Change	        Cody White	Carlos Alvarez
Best Control	        McDonald	Kershaw
 Defense
Best Catcher	        A.J. Ellis	Gab Gutierrez
Best Infielder	        Hu	        De Jesus
Best Inf Arm	        Pedro Baez	LaRoche
Best Outfielder	        Jamie Hoffman   Hoffman
Best Of Arm	        Xavier Paul	Paul
No Awards if Bonus Involves-- The Associated Press reports that baseball players no longer would receive bonuses for winning the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young or rookie awards bestowed by the Baseball Writers' Association of America under a rule passed Wednesday.

Starting in 2013, players with such bonus clauses in their contracts will be banned from receiving votes for any BBWAA awards. Hall of Fame voting is not affected, nor are manager of the year or non-BBWAA awards such as the World Series MVP or Gold Glove.

Some award clauses are worth millions.

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez earned a $1.5 million bonus for winning the AL MVP in 2007, and Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has a clause in his agreement for next year that would pay him $1 million if he receives even a single third-place vote for the Cy Young Award.

"The Schilling thing is disturbing because he doesn't even have to win," said O'Connell, noting that Schilling joked about a kickback to the voter if he collected the bonus. "That's something that none of us finds very funny."

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