12/10/09 3:19 PM EST
Colletti 'not close' on deals yet for LA
Dodgers GM expects more activity to come after new year
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Not that you could tell by looking at the roster, which they changed only around the margins with a couple of late trades for long-shot Rule 5 pitchers.
"A lot of our stuff will get done after the first of the year," general manager Ned Colletti said. "As of now, we're not close on anything."
The additions made Thursday were right-handed starter Carlos Monasterios from the Mets, who drafted him from Philadelphia; and left-handed reliever Armando Zerpa from Tampa Bay, which drafted him from Boston. The Dodgers paid cash for both players.
Monasterios, a 23-year-old starter from Venezuela, was 5-6 with a 3.73 ERA at Class A and 0-0 with a 3.68 ERA at Double-A this year with almost a three-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Zerpa, 22 and also from Venezuela, is a reliever who was 1-3 with a 4.85 ERA at Class A and was 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA in 22 games at Double-A.
Monasterios could join the mix for the open fifth-starter spot. Zerpa will be trying to break into a bullpen that already includes lefties George Sherrill and Hong-Chih Kuo.
Chances of either making an impact on the Major League level are slim. Since 1982, D.J. Houlton is the only Rule 5 pick to spend a full Major League season with the Dodgers when he did it in 2005. Rule 5 picks cost $50,000 and must stay in the Major Leagues a full season or be offered back to the original club for $25,000. If the original club passes, the player must clear waivers before he can be sent to the Minor Leagues.
In the meantime, the Dodgers lost outfielder Jamie Hoffmann in the same Draft. Hoffmann played 14 games and hit .182 for the Dodgers last season. He had been left unprotected for the Rule 5 Draft because the club already has four Major League outfielders -- Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre -- plus Jason Repko and Xavier Paul to take over if Pierre gets traded.
The 25-year-old Hoffmann, a former hockey player, was the first overall pick in the Major League phase, by Washington, which sent him to the Yankees as the player to be named in the Brian Bruney trade. The Dodgers also lost Double-A outfielder James Tomlin to Texas in the Triple-A phase of the Draft and drafted right-handed starter Raul Burgos from the Giants in the Double-A phase.
The closest thing to a headline for Colletti this week was confirmation he is still talking to Toronto about ace Roy Halladay, even if nobody in the game believes the Dodgers have the financial flexibility necessary to extend Halladay's contract even if agreement could be reached on players.
More likely would be a deal of Pierre and the remaining $18.5 million on his contract for one of three other unnamed veteran pitchers targeted to satisfy Colletti's desire for an innings-eating fourth starter. He was huddling before the Draft with Dave Dombrowski of Detroit, who is interested in Pierre to replace the traded Curtis Granderson but needs to find a third club to supply a starter acceptable to Colletti.
If not via trade, Colletti will spend January looking for another Randy Wolf-type solution for his rotation. He signed Wolf last January for $5 million (plus $3 million in incentives), and he became the club's most consistent starter.
Colletti said if he can get a veteran fourth starter one way or another, he'd be comfortable with a Spring Training audition of young pitchers for the fifth spot. Candidates he listed are James McDonald, Scott Elbert, Josh Lindblom, Ramon Troncoso and Eric Stults. Now Monasterios joins the group.
For what it's worth, these were good Meetings for Blake DeWitt, who was named by Colletti as the starting second baseman if the season started now.
Of course, that was pretty much the case a year ago, only for Orlando Hudson to suddenly appear during Spring Training. DeWitt then spent a wasted year shuttling six times back and forth between Los Angeles and Triple-A Albuquerque.
Colletti said he is still looking for a backup second baseman among the pool of free agents that includes Ronnie Belliard, Craig Counsell, Juan Uribe and Jamey Carroll. And he needs to rebuild the rest of his bench, including finding pinch-hitters and a backup shortstop.
Rule 5 activity: The Dodgers traded for right-handed starter Monasterios and left-handed reliever Zerpa and lost outfielder Hoffmann, the first player picked in the Major League phase. They also lost Tomlin, a Double-A outfielder, and drafted young right-handed starter Burgos.
Goals accomplished: They didn't spend any money. And Colletti said the three days of meetings held with his advisers were constructive.
Unfinished business: Everything. They still need a fourth starter, a veteran second baseman and a rebuilt bench.
GM's bottom line: "Our needs this year are less than last year. They're still prominent, but less." -- Colletti.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.