Dodgers Interested in Dunn or Abreu

Outfielders seem to be on the Dodgers special menu of the day. also reports that the Dodgers contacted Dunn's agent over the holidays, according to an executive of a team interested in Dunn making it look like they will not wait for Manny Ramirez to make up his mind. They are also considering former Yankee Bobby Abreu.

A baseball source confirmed the report that the Dodgers recently contacted the agent for Dunn and added that the club also has Abreu on the radar.

The Cubs, Nationals, Mariners and Orioles are also interested in Dunn but with the Dodgers it makes another contender to consider.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, need to add power into a lineup that finished 14th in the National League in home runs last season. And with no certainty that they can re-sign Ramirez, they seem to have decided that Dunn or Abreu represents a good alternative.

The Dodgers have not spoken to agent Scott Boras about Ramirez since the Winter Meetings. They remain interested in Ramirez, but only for a short-term deal similar to the one they made in November, which included a third-year option for $15 million.

Dunn has hit exactly 40 home runs four years in a row -- which would be four more 40-homer seasons than all Dodgers hitters combined have had in those four seasons. No Dodger has reached 40 home runs since Adrian Beltré in 2004. He has 278 home runs and 672 runs batted in over seven 1/2 seasons.

While owning a .247 lifetime average, he has a sparkling .381 on-base percentage despite striking out nearly a third of the time. He has created over 100 runs per season for seven of the last eight seasons.

Dunn has batting .389 (7-for-18) in Dodger Stadium over the past two years, with two home runs and an .833 slugging percentage.

The Dodgers have not spoken to agent Scott Boras about Ramirez since the Winter Meetings. They remain interested in Ramirez, but only for a short-term deal similar to the one they made in November, which included a third-year option for $15 million. Expressing interest in Dunn and Abreu serves the dual purpose of signaling impatience with Ramirez while lining up a possible replacement if he doesn't want a short-term contract from the Dodgers.

Abreu, who will turn 35 in March, hit .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBIs for the Yankees in 2008. He lacks the power of Dunn but has seven seasons driving in at least 100 runs and is a better defensive outfielder. Neither Dunn nor Abreu were offered arbitration by their former clubs and would not cost the Dodgers Draft pick compensation.

Mets interested in Andruw Jones
According to an report, the Mets have talked to the Dodgers about acquiring outfielder Andruw Jones. According to the report, the Dodgers would be required to pay most of the remaining $21 million salary for Jones in 2009, the final year of his two-year contract. Earlier this month, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said several clubs expressed interest in Jones if the Dodgers paid most of his salary.

If the deal is consummated, Jones, a 10-time Gold Glove center fielder, would shift to right with Carlos Beltran remaining in center field. Ryan Church played most of the season in right field for the Mets in '08. Jones is coming off the worst season of his career, when he hit .158 with three homers and 14 RBIs. He reported to Spring Training admittedly out of shape, underwent right knee surgery at midseason and went home in September while the Dodgers were making their stretch run to overtake Arizona and win the National League West.

In addition to Jones' availability, Dodgers outfielder Juan Pierre has asked to be traded if he is not a starter. The Dodgers are unlikely to deal any outfielder until they either re-sign Ramirez, or are successful finding a big-bat replacement for him.

Pitches Also on Agenda
The Dodgers are considering two free-agent starters, Jon Garland and Randy Wolf. General Manager Ned Colletti wants to add a veteran to a rotation that now consists of Chad Billingsley (recovering from a broken leg), Hiroki Kuroda, Clayton Kershaw and a group that includes Jason Schmidt, Eric Stults and James McDonald.

The Dodgers are also interested in a veteran arm in the bullpen with the apparent free-agent departures of Takashi Saito, Joe Beimel, Chan Ho Park and Scott Proctor. The current relievers are all talented but relatively young -- Jonathan Broxton, Scott Elbert, Hong-Chih Kuo, Ramon Troncoso and Cory Wade.

Penny Signs with BoSox
Free-agent right-hander Brad Penny and the Boston Red Sox have agreed on a one-year deal, according to a major-league source. Penny, who would be in the Red Sox's starting rotation, will have to take a physical and the two sides are still working out the language of the contract.

Penny, 29, struggled last season with the Dodgers, going 6-9 with a 6.27 in 17 starts and two relief appearances after winning 16 games in the 2006 and 2007 seasons. He was shut down in September and placed on the 60-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder.

Penny posted a career year in 2007 by throwing 208 innings with 16 wins against four losses and a career-low 3.03 ERA.

The move would give the Red Sox the ability to keep Justin Masterson in the bullpen and be patient with Clay Buchholz.

Adding Penny would be Boston's first big move of the offseason after it lost out on slugger Mark Teixeira earlier this month. Penny would join an already formidable rotation that includes Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield.

Orioles Sign Hendrickson
Looking to increase their pitching depth, the Orioles have agreed to terms with free-agent left-hander Mark Hendrickson, who will take a physical this week to finalize the deal, according to team sources. Terms of the deal aren't known. Orioles president Andy MacPhail declined to comment on the status of the negotiations last night, but the deal was essentially finalized last week, according to sources. -- Baltimore Sun

Mets Interested in Cora?
GM Omar Minaya seems intent on acquiring a genuine middle infield understudy and Alex Cora is the Mets' preference.

And speaking of the Yankees, they have outspent the other 29 teams in free agency this winter--$423.5 million to $296.6 million according to the Chicago Tribune.