With money to spend, Dodgers will seek pitcher, hitter (and keep eye on Hamels)

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
The financial power of the Dodgers' new ownership group could really be seen on next winter's free-agent market, where the team is expected to go all-out in an effort to sign Cole Hamels.

"They love him, and they're saying they'll do whatever it takes to get him," said one rival club official, who speaks regularly to Dodgers people.

But the Dodgers will likely try to flex their financial muscle on the July trade market, too.

With their team sitting in first place in the NL West, Dodgers officials have sent out word that they will try hard to acquire both a starting pitcher and a hitter before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

"The one thing that won't be an obstacle for them is money," the rival official said.

The Dodger farm system hasn't had nearly as good a start as the parent club, so the team is limited in terms of prospects who would be coveted trade chips. The solution for the Dodgers could be to go after players with bigger contracts, and offer to take on more of the money.

One position player the Dodgers have scouted is third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who the Red Sox intend to trade. Youkilis is pricey, with a $12 million contract this year and a $13 million option (with a $1 million buyout) for 2013.

As colleague Jon Heyman wrote this week, the trade market looks to be strong in starting pitching. As of now, it's believed that the Dodgers are looking at multiple pitchers who could be available.

One pitcher the Dodgers could have strong interest in: Ryan Dempster of the Cubs. Before the Dodgers got Ted Lilly from the Cubs two summers ago, they initially tried for Dempster.

The Dodgers rotation has been one of the game's best for the first two months of the season, with a 3.07 ERA that ranks just behind the Nationals' MLB-leading 2.95. But Ted Lilly just went on the disabled list, and the Dodgers seem to have some concerns that the rest of their starters won't maintain their early season success.

Offensively, the Dodgers could use immediate help, with star center fielder Matt Kemp back on the disabled list and expected to miss a month. Youkilis would be a fit, because the Dodgers have been getting almost no offense out of third base.


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