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Dodgers face decisions on host of players

Mattingly expected back; Uribe, Nolasco, Wilson among 12 potential free agents

ST. LOUIS -- The Dodgers fly home Saturday, suitcases filled with clean clothes that won't be worn at the World Series, a chartered jet loaded with a dozen players and one manager who could become free agents.

A baseball source has confirmed that Don Mattingly will return in 2014, but general manager Ned Colletti said he and club president Stan Kasten will meet with Mattingly "in the next couple days" to resolve that and, presumably, the status of the coaching staff. The club holds a $1.4 million option on Mattingly for 2014.

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The Dodgers also hold a team option on starting second baseman Mark Ellis for $4.75 million and there's a mutual option with left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano for $8 million or a $1 million buyout.

If the Dodgers are ever able to finalize the rumored agreement with Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero, he might slide into the starting second-base job.

In addition to a decision on Ellis, third baseman Juan Uribe can walk, having revived his career in the second half this year, and the Dodgers don't appear to have any obvious replacements ready.

Another key component in the furious comeback the Dodgers mounted this year is right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who can leave, along with fellow starter Edinson Volquez.

The bullpen could take a big loss, as setup man Brian Wilson figures to look for a closer job and J.P. Howell, the only lefty reliever the Dodgers carried in the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals, can be a free agent. So can Carlos Marmol.

The bench might need to be totally rebuilt, as Jerry Hairston, Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker and Michael Young are free to go. Young is rumored to be considering retirement.

And the front office figures to be even busier with two key players who are not free agents -- Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez.

Kershaw, eligible for his final year of arbitration, has already had on-and-off negotiations for a contract extension that could be worth $200 million. Meanwhile, the club must also consider extending Ramirez, who is entering the final year of his contract, even though his body has proved to be brittle.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for

Los Angeles Dodgers, Chris Capuano, Mark Ellis, Jerry Hairston, J.P. Howell, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Marmol, Ricky Nolasco, Nick Punto, Hanley Ramirez, Skip Schumaker, Juan Uribe, Edinson Volquez, Brian Wilson, Michael Young