NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Dodgers have talked to the Mets about a trade for National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, according to a baseball source.
Dickey not only would be a fallback if the Dodgers can't sign No. 1 target Zack Greinke, but if added with Greinke would give the rotation triple Cy Young-winning aces along with Clayton Kershaw.
Greinke remains the top priority for a team that believes it can outbid anyone financially. A trade for Dickey, however, would depend on prospects the Dodgers don't seem to have.
Pitcher Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, as well as young shortstop Dee Gordon, would be expendable, but the Mets are looking for a premier young outfielder and catcher. The Mets, then, would probably ask for a package that started with top pitching prospect Zach Lee and build from there, and the Dodgers have refused to part with him in the past.
That said, general manager Ned Colletti reiterated Monday at the Winter Meetings that loading up on starting pitching remains his top priority.
"If we can sign two starting pitchers, we're going to take that chance," he said.
Ted Lilly is coming off shoulder surgery and Chad Billingsley is returning from a partially torn elbow ligament. The club is cautiously optimistic Billingsley will avoid Tommy John surgery, but the elbow won't really be tested until Spring Training. If Colletti could pull off a double coup of Greinke/Dickey, the rotation would be Kershaw, Greinke, Dickey, Billingsley and Josh Beckett.
Dickey, 38, will earn $5 million in 2013, the last year of his contract. He is believed to be looking for a two-year extension.
In addition to Greinke and Dickey, the Dodgers are believed to be still interested in free-agent pitchers Anibal Sanchez, Ryan Dempster and Kyle Lohse. But Colletti said he currently does not have any offers out to any Major League free agent.
Colletti said negotiations are not going particularly well with Korean free-agent left-handed pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, who must be signed by Dec. 9 or he reverts back to the Korean League with the Dodgers refunded their $25.7 million posting fee.
"The pace is not necessarily on pace to get a deal done," said Colletti. "It could pick up in a hurry. But we're not on the doorstep of doing it. We certainly want to sign the player and we bid a number to secure the rights to negotiate with the player."
Unlike a typical six-year free agent, however, the framework of Ryu's negotiations is entirely different because of the deadline. Perhaps a better comparison would be the contract negotiations a team holds with a first-round Draft pick, which often go down to the final minutes of the deadline.
Gordon is available because the Dodgers have decided that Hanley Ramirez will play shortstop and Luis Cruz third base. A trade of Gordon, however, would heighten the need for a backup shortstop or a platoon corner infielder like free agent Eric Chavez, as Cruz might need to be the backup shortstop.
Colletti said he had a scare when Ramirez, playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic to tighten up his defense, hurt his shoulder and missed a pair of games. He has already returned as a designated hitter and will return to shortstop Wednesday.
"I can't say it made my day," Colletti said when he heard of the injury. "He wants to play and we want him to play. He wants to play and that's a good sign."
Colletti, who came to last year's Winter Meetings with a team in bankruptcy and a $20 million payroll reduction, said the wealth of new ownership has created "interesting dynamics."
"We're 'in' on so many players we may need two or three teams," he joked. "We were an afterthought. Now, anybody that needs us to be involved has us being involved, whether we're involved or not. We're not casting a net for 15 guys, but it's easy to find us being involved in that many scenarios. I've talked to less agents than recent years easily."