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Dodgers turn attention to pursuing Fernandez

Club reportedly aggressive in talks for Marlins' starter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Dodgers have put the Aroldis Chapman trade on the back burner to allow MLB's domestic violence process to run its course.

But they continue to be considered aggressive pursuers in trade talks for Miami's Jose Fernandez, in an effort to plug the starting-pitching hole left by Zack Greinke's departure.

The Dodgers also have thoroughly scouted right-hander Kenta Maeda, who was posted by his Japanese club on Tuesday. The Dodgers are likely to ante the refundable $20 million release fee, giving them a seat at the negotiating table, along with other clubs, for the right-hander, whose signing would not cost a Draft pick. Maeda will be 28 in April.

Any deal for Fernandez, the Marlins' ace, would presumably include the Dodgers' top pitching prospect, 19-year-old Julio Urias, and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated that no player in the organization is untouchable.

"The thing we pride ourselves on is not having any hard-and-fast rules," said Friedman on Tuesday, the second day of the Winter Meetings. "Being open-minded to having different conversations. It would save us time to have hard-and-fast rules on certain things. But we're open-minded and we feel that allows us to have the best chance to arrive at the best possible outcome at the end of the winter."

The Dodgers on Wednesday officially announced the signing of free-agent infielder Chase Utley, while starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma's deal is pending a physical exam.

With Greinke's signing by Arizona officially announced Tuesday, Friedman for the first time talked about his departure. He wouldn't confirm reports that the club lost out because Arizona's six-year deal was one more year than the Dodgers would guarantee.

"Obviously hearing the Arizona side, they came up very, very late and it was fast and furious and they ended with Zack, and they're happy and it's great for them," he said. "Zack has been a significant part of our success for three years, we wish him well and we're focused on how to construct the best team for 2016 and beyond."

Friedman was asked why the Dodgers, knowing that Greinke had an opt-out of his contract after the 2015 season, didn't try to negotiate a new deal during the season, when the Dodgers would have had exclusive negotiating rights.

"It's a distraction during the season," he said. "What if his performance would have fallen off and we wouldn't have won the West? Most teams don't do it because it's a distraction."

Friedman would not discuss the Chapman trade, which has been tabled while MLB investigates an alleged incident between the pitcher and his girlfriend that did not result in any arrests. MLB has indicated the investigation could extend until Spring Training.

Chapman gun incident being investigated

Video: Rosenthal updates Chapman's trade chances, future

Because they were reportedly sending the Reds two prospects in return, conceivably the Dodgers could continue winter work on the roster and revisit the deal, which would bring a second closer to the club next year.

Should Chapman be suspended for at least 46 games next year and lose service time, his free agency would be delayed until after the 2017 season instead of after the 2016 season.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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