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Dodgers 'not closing in on, or chasing' Price

GM Colletti is focused on infield depth, bullpen as trade buzz continues

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Without mentioning David Price by name, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti on Tuesday said he's "not closing in on, or chasing" any starting pitchers at the ongoing Winter Meetings.

"That's not where our concentration is right now," he said.

Colletti said he remains focused on adding a starting infielder, two middle relievers and a utility man, the same goals he laid out before rumors ignited this week about a trade for Rays ace Price, topping a list of potential targets that included free agent Masahiro Tanaka and Philadelphia starters Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

He said contract talks with Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez will not happen until after the Winter Meetings.

Colletti sounded lukewarm about trading any of his four outfielders -- Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier or Yasiel Puig.

"We're fine without doing anything there," he said.

Colletti met with the agent for free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe, who gave the Dodgers an indication that a decision was closer. The Dodgers reportedly made an offer for one year plus an option. But Colletti hinted that he won't wait forever to re-sign the veteran, even though Uribe is the club's preferred third-base option in a thin market.

"If we don't sign him, we'll have somebody playing third base in Australia [site of the Opening Series]," he said.

To that end, Colletti said the club is talking to free agents Mark Ellis and Michael Young. Either could serve as a second-base placeholder if Cuban Alexander Guerrero is not ready to start the season in the Major Leagues, and there are signals that he needs more playing time to handle the adjustment to second base from his natural shortstop position.

Young has played plenty of third base and Colletti said Ellis could as well, on a part-time basis. Kevin Youkilis, however, is not in the mix.

Kemp remains the focal point of trade rumors, but no deal is likely to happen while his surgically repaired broken ankle is still in a protective boot. Colletti said the medical department believes Kemp should be able to hit and throw by the start of Spring Training and be ready to play by Opening Day.

But Colletti said Kemp is already doing upper body work that he couldn't do a year ago after shoulder surgery and sounded like he wants to keep him, not trade him.

"This club is in a decent spot," he said. "We had a tremendous second half and certainly didn't do it at full strength. We get guys healthy, that's an improvement, in my mind. If we have Matt Kemp for a full season? He was one of the best players in the game. If Zack [Greinke] doesn't break a collarbone and miss five to six weeks, if we stay away from the major things, we'll be better than we were and we were good enough to win the division and get to Game 6 of the LCS."

The only indication on relievers given by Colletti was that, when asked about Kershaw's contract, he said he met with agent Casey Close about a player other than Kershaw.

That would be long reliever Jamey Wright, whom the Dodgers are trying to bring back.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for

Los Angeles Dodgers, David Price