Got the Pop; Looking For an Arm

With Andrew Jones and his big bat locked up for the next two years -- and a consideration of extending his contract if things go well - the Dodgers continue their quest for a starting pitcher, either by free agency (Hiroki Kuroda) or by trade, perhaps with Baltimore or Oakland.

Agent Steve Boras, who was seeking a seven-year contract, well beyond Colletti's plans, changed his mind when Frank McCourt said he would look at signing Jones to a long-term extension if he performed the way he had in past seasons. "The owner showed a willingness to commit to him long term," Boras said.

Many feel that a move to Dodger Stadium will cut down on Jones' power, but the renovations that gobbled up foul territory to add more seats made the Chavez Ravine park much more conducive to hitters.

Comparing the Park Indices of Turner Field and Dodger Stadium finds they are about at the major league average and over the past year have favored Dodger Stadium in the home run department.

Jones in Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium would have given him a real advantage, but it was demolished and became a parking lot for the new park.

Colletti said that the weak-armed Pierre's likely move to left field -- if not another team -- didn't mean he regretted signing him to a five-year, $44-million contract last season.

"You can't look back on what you do like that," Colletti told the L.A. Times. "It's not fair to anything. Come back to my office and I'll reconstruct the board and have you look at our club and have you look at the free-agent board at the same time and you tell me what you would do when we're sitting there with one outfielder, Andre Ethier, who has played four months of big league baseball and no other outfielders."

The general option is that the Dodgers will now package either Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp with a younger prospect in an attempt to add a starter to the rotation.

Colletti and A's GM Billy Beane discussed a deal for Blanton at the trading deadline, but that deal broke down when the Dodgers wouldn't include their top shortstop prospect, Ivan De Jesus Jr. That means that Hu is not exactly the heir-apparent to Rafael Furcal's job.

The A's are rumored to be asking for a package of Kemp, DeJesus and a prospect - possibly pitcher James McDonald - for either Dan Haren (27. 15-9, 3.22) or Joe Blanton (27, 14-10, 3.30).

Talks between the Dodgers and Orioles broke down earlier this week when Baltimore asked for Kemp and reliever Jonathan Broxton in a deal for Erik Bedard (29, 13-5, 2.71).

Tony Jackson of the L.A. Daily News feels the Dodgers probably are more likely to trade Kemp than Ethier first, Kemp is more widely coveted by other clubs, allowing the Dodgers to package fewer additional players with him. And second, Ethier is a left-handed hitter, so the Dodgers would have a more balanced lineup by keeping him.

That lineup would include two lefty power hitters in Ethier and first baseman James Loney (its the first time anyone had mentioned Loney's name in the same sentence with power hitter), and a third left-handed bat in leadoff man Juan Pierre, along with switch-hitting shortstop Rafael Furcal. Along with Jones, catcher Russell Martin and second baseman Jeff Kent are right-handed hitters, as are Nomar Garciaparra and LaRoche, who for now are the likely spring-training combatants for the everyday third-base job.

ESPN, on the other hand, feels Kemp will be kept out of any trade talks and "stands the best chance at playing regularly in right field as things stand today ... there's plenty of breakout potential in the .342 hitter of a year ago."

Dodgers Officially Sign Park-- The Dodgers will atttempt to work their magic again, signing former ace Chan Ho Park to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Park had agreed to a deal a month ago, but backed out to compete with the Korean National Team.

For a number of years Los Angeles has picked up a pitcher seemingly who had been discarded and have reaped benefits for a year or two at bargain prices.

They remember the good work provided by Giovanni Carrara, Wilson Alvarez, Tom Martin, Kelly Wunsch, Jose Lima, Takashi Saito, Aaron Sele and last year, Rudy Seanez.

Park, then the property of the Mets, was called up for one game after recording ERAs of 5.67 and 6.21 at Triple-A. He allowed four runs in seven innings and was not seen again in a NY uniform.

Some of his best work came with the Dodgers, rolling up back-to-back seasons of 15-11 and 18-10 in 2000-01. After asking for a $100 million contract, the Dodgers led him walk and Texas dropped $65 million on him. Over the six ensuing seasons he had a record if 33-34 with the Rangers, San Diego and New York.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The latest third-base rumor has the Dodgers dealing for Giants third baseman Pedro Feliz, reports ESPNdeportes.com's Enrique Rojas. Felix has hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last four seasons for the rival Giants. It sounds like the first agent to attach his client on the coattails of a franchise on it's way up. ...Hard to believe but it is thought that the Florida Marlins payroll will "swell" to over $15 million in 2008. Now you know where Charles O. Finley has been all these years. ...Dodgers manager Joe Torre underwent a knee replacement operation this week but is expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

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