Cleaning the Desk for the Week-End

We're still catching up from the regular season/post season and in an attempt to clear at least a small spot on our desk, we offer these items for your reading enjoyment, in to particular order. They were pigeon-holed for use earlier, but here they are -- better late than never.

Hudson Says Torre Didn't Talk to Him
Orlando Hudson hit .337 with 12 RBIs in April and .328 with 19 RBIs in May, then slipped to .222 in June and eventually lost his second base job to Ron Belliard who arrived with a hot bat, hitting .354 in August and .347 in September. In June Hudson slumped, batting just .222, though he appeared to right himself by August, when he hit .295 but had only 70 at-bats the final two months. Hudson, who recently won a Gold Glove, finished the season as a pinch-hitter. He never publicly complained about getting benched, and according to Hudson, Manager Joe Torre never called him into his office to discuss the situation, a slap in the face Hudson has trouble accepting. "My teammates talked to me about it more than Joe did, but I never had any answers because (Torre) and I never talked," Hudson told the LA Daily News. "There was no conversation. I guess he felt I wasn't the man for the job." Torre explained the decision on numerous occasions to the media as simply going with the hot hand. Some felt the Dodgers sat him down because the clause in his contract that payed him extra for attaining specific at-bat totals.

Wetteland Hospitalized
Former Dodgers closer John Wetteland is resting at home after a trip to a hospital, where the Seattle Mariners say he was treated for an elevated heart rate. "My wife and I are very appreciative of the over and above care of our local officers and paramedics," he said in a statement released by the team Thursday night. "The circumstances leading to my elevated blood pressure and heart rate have been addressed." Dallas television station CBS-11 and the New York Daily News reported earlier Thursday that Denton County authorities described the call from a woman at Wetteland's home as a mental health issue and that he was contemplating suicide.

Dodgers called "a mess" by rival GM
The Divorce Court Dodgers, in the words of one rival general manager, are "a mess with the team's payroll, direction and future unknown". The divorce proceedings between owner Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie are almost certain to affect the way the Dodgers operate. At the moment, Colletti only can make cash-neutral trades, according to major-league sources.

Wolf Wants to Come Back
Randy Wolf said he wanted to return to the club in 2009. He established a career high in innings pitched with 214 1/3 and was 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA. "I would love to return," he said. "I'm not sure if that's a mutual feeling. They have their goals for the future. I don't know what their plans are."

Cuban ...Maybe... Interested in Dodgers
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who attempted to purchase a controlling share of the Chicago Cubs a few years ago, said he might be interested in buying the Dodgers if "the right deal" falls in place. "For the right deal, I'm always interested, but I'm not on a mission," Cuban said. "I'll make an inquiry like I have in the other deals, then we'll see what happens. But, again, it's got to be the right deal. It's not like the Cubs situation." The Dodgers aren't for sale, but that possibility looms as owner Frank McCourt's divorce with his estranged wife, Jamie, plays out.

Vlad Guerrero Wanted to be a Dodger
Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero became a free agent when Montreal was unable to afford him and he signed with the Anaheim Angels after rumors abounded that he wanted to play for the Dodgers. While signing autographs at a local card show in Los Angeles he was asked why he didn't sign with the Dodgers. He said "Culpa de McCourt, yo queria." That loosely translated to "Blame McCourt, but I wish."

Mitch Jones a AAA All-Star
Minor League slugger Mitch Jones, who played with Albuquerque affiliate in 2009, was named to the Topps' Triple-A All-Star team as designated hitter. The 32-year-old Jones won the Joe Bauman Trophy as Minor League Baseball's top home run hitter with 35 and led the Minors with a .651 slugging percentage. His 103 RBIs ranked second in Triple-A. Jones made a brief Major League appearance Los Angeles, nine years after signing a professional contract with the Yankees. He had a pinch hit on June 17, made three starts and went 4-for-13 (.308) with a double in eight games before being designated for assignment July 1.

Chattanooga Honored
Minor League Baseball named Chattanooga winners of the Larry MacPhail Trophy for their efforts in promotions this season. The Lookouts are the first Southern League team to win the MacPhail award since Tennessee took it home in 2001. "The Larry MacPhail Trophy is a very meaningful award and we are thrilled to win it," said Chattanooga President and general manager Frank Burke. "In an industry with so many great promoters, it is a high honor for me and the hard working employees of the Lookouts."

San Bernardino County Top Sports Market
The Inland Empire 66ers who play their home games at Arrowhead Credit Union Park in San Bernardino was one of three California League teams, with a minor-league hockey team, were named the seventh-best minor-league sports market in the United States, according to rankings issued by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal earlier this week. The national sports publication ranked 239 markets in several categories, including the number of years their minor-league teams have existed, paid attendance for those teams, fluctuations in each market's unemployment rate and population, and each area's total personal income.

Salary Cut of Veteran Scout Blasted
The Dodgers have cut the salary of 87-year-old part-time scout George Genovese from $18,000 to $8,000 and with the big numbers being tossed around during the McCourt's divorce situation, gave the club a black eye. Logan White, the Dodgers' assistant general manager in charge of scouting, said "I try to use George the best I can, but I know everybody always wants to be used more. I can't go into details about it, but I'm taking a different path here and making changes in the whole staff. I can tell you it has nothing to do with the divorce or with finances. We're just trying to improve our local feel." Jon Weisman, author of Dodger Thoughts pointed out, "Was it worth 10 grand to have this negative publicity, instead of letting the guy just keep it?"

Webster Leaves for Royals
In a move that may or may not be along the same lines as the slashing of Genovese's salary, Mitch Webster is leaving the Dodgers to become a scouting supervisor with the Kansas City Royals. Webster, who also played for the Dodgers, was a pro scout for the past two seasons, but is better known for his work as an amateur scout. He signed 2004 first-round picks Blake DeWitt and Scott Elbert out of Missouri. A native of Larned, Kansas, he retired in 1995 after a 13-year career as an outfielder with the Blue Jays, Expos, Cubs, Indians, Pirates and Dodgers. He has spent the past 14 years working in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, serving for eight seasons as an amateur scout before working in 2008 and 2009 as a pro scout. Webster also spent four seasons as a coach in the Dodgers minor league system from 1996-1999.

Torre Talks Extension
Manager Joe Torre, talking to Mike & Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio, had this to say about possibly staying on the job after his current contract runs out next season. "It probably will be (my last year in baseball), but I've talked it over with Ned Colletti about the possibility of adding a year on to my contract, and he seemed to be receptive. I'm not sure that's what I want to do. I'm just going to let the smoke settle a little bit. I'm very comfortable out there. We have young players. They seem to be getting better. With the fact that they're getting better and we've had this success, you know maybe I'd to do it a little bit longer. But I'm going to give probably a couple more weeks before I really decide on that."

Buster Olney's Take on the Dodgers
Buster Olney of Baseball Prospectus, says "There are a lot of lingering questions, and first and foremost is whether the marital problems of the team's owner and its recently fired CEO -- Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie -- will paralyze the Dodgers in the same way that the divorce of John Moores devastated the financial planning of the San Diego Padres. It may be that the legal wrangling could affect the Dodgers' effort to fill their most glaring hole, the lack of a No. 1-type starter who can lead a staff. In the aftermath of the Dodgers' elimination, Joe Torre mentioned that his team had managed to plug along without having a clear ace, but if L.A. is to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1988, it needs someone like a Roy Halladay (the best pitcher likely to be available in trade) or a John Lackey (the best free-agent pitcher). It may not be clear for weeks whether GM Ned Colletti will be in position to either spend in prospects or in cash what would be required to land that type of talent. The bullpen and lineup should be strong, and eventually, Kershaw will become an ace -- but he's only 21, and the rotation needs help.

Ausmus May Hang it Up
Catcher Brad Ausmus, a 17-year veteran, told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney that he may have played his last game. "Not sure what I am going to do," Ausmus wrote in an email. "I might hang 'em up and coach my girls' softball team. I'll wait and see if anybody even wants me around. ... I don't know that anybody necessarily wants me to manage, coach, etc. My phone isn't ringing off the hook."

No Retirement Decision by Scully
Vin Scully said he will continue in the broadcast booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers through the 2010 season, then decide whether he will walk away. The Hall of Fame announcer told The Associated Press that he still loves the job he's had with the team since 1950, but that it's hard to be away from his wife during a long season. "I'm trying to figure out if I can walk away," he said. "I'm the horse pulling the wagon with a lot of people on the wagon, so I'm really not sure. God willing, I'll do next year and then we'll just have to wait and see." Scully, who turns 82 on Nov. 29, and his wife Sandy celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary recently.

And Then Comes the Rumors
The rumors keep coming, thick and fast, with no knowledge of the Dodgers' financial restriction, if, indeed, there are any. Either way, here is the rumble on the street for you to digest as you please:

Edwin Jackson was an All-Star pitcher for the Tigers this year and pitched deep into games. He won't become a free agent until 2011. Speculation is that the Dodgers are offering left-handed reliever George Sherrill for Jackson, who was once a Dodger, even up. Sherrill ($2.75 million) and Jackson ($2.2 million) earned very similar base salaries in salary arbitration this year. That should be the case again in 2010, which would enable the cash to balance easily. The Dodgers would get a reasonably low-cost starter and the Tigers would acquire a late-inning reliever, perhaps a closer to offset the potential free-agent departures of Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon. Jackson went 13-9 with a career-best 3.62 ERA and 214 innings. But he faded in August and September, compiling a 5.83 ERA over his last 11 starts.

Dan Uggla may be the answer to the Dodgers perceived second base vacancy and their lack of power and the rumor was floated that they were interested in trading for the Marlins second baseman. Uggla, 30, has averaged 30 home runs over the last four seasons. The Red Sox just gave two pitching prospects for Jeremy Hermidia, a lesser value player than Uggla, Los Angeles may have to part with Some combination of Scott Elbert, Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin or Aaron Miller.

In closing the Dodgers declined the $2.2 million option on LHP Will Ohman, former Dodgers coach Jim Riggleman will manage Washington next year and Kansas City just signed Wilson Betemit.

Stay Tuned.

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