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'What budget?' Dodgers willing to open vault for Greinke

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Dodgers have an interesting strategy that's been employed only rarely: Sign the best, no matter the cost.

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"They are like theSteinrenner Yankees of the '70s," one competing GM said.

Rival executives are beginning to wonder of there's any chance to compete with the Dodgers in the Zack Greinke sweepstakes. Greinke is said by friends to be an unusual free agent who values comfort and winning right up there with money, so some teams will hang in there with a bit of hope.

But it seems pretty clear who is going to offer Greinke the biggest deal. The Dodgers seem determined to sign him, no matter the cost. As Dodgers president Stan Kasten said, "We are the opposite of the mystery team."

Asked about their budget, one Dodgers person responded on Monday, "What budget?"

Some wonder whether it might be wise to sign up Clayton Kershaw first, thus in effect capping Greinke's final price. But one rival exec said, he believes the Dodgers "just don't care" how much things cost.

The Dodgers also can afford Greinke the opportunity to play not too far from Anaheim (45 miles up Interstate 5), to pitch in a pitchers ballpark and to hit, which he is said to love. So they have other draws besides money anyway.

The Rangers, Nationals, Angels and Braves are among other teams showing interest -- if it matters.

Greinke has told friends in the past he'd love to pitch for the Braves, a winning NL team who happen to train in his home area of Orlando. And the Braves showed they are at least thinking about it when club president John Schuerholz declined to rule it out when asked on a radio show.

The Braves might have to trade other pieces to have any chance, as their payroll is only expected to rise a bit from their ususal $90 million to 95 million range.

Braves GM Frank Wren conceded a Greinke signing by them is "probably unlikely."

At the moment, the same might be said by just about every other team but the Dodgers.

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