Pitching, outfield depth atop Dodgers' shopping list
Some of Colletti's GM work for 2013 completed with in-season trades
LOS ANGELES -- A year ago, general manager Ned Colletti not only had to worry about other clubs pursuing his free-agent targets, he had a bankruptcy judge with the final word.
Now the Dodgers have more money than they know what to do with.
In fact, some of Colletti's work for 2013 was done during the in-season spending spree that landed starting infielders Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez, starting outfielders Shane Victorino and Carl Crawford, starting pitchers Josh Beckett and Joe Blanton, relievers Brandon League and Randy Choate and utilityman Nick Punto.
The Dodgers added nearly $300 million in future salaries through those deals.
"For many years, we were not in a spot to go after top free agents," Colletti said. "So we needed to fast forward. Sometimes you can't wait for prospects. The deals we made, I thought we got better for 2013, 2014, as well as 2012. It wasn't like we traded for rentals. The organization needed to restart. Most of the new players are in the midst of their prime."
Victorino, Blanton, League and Choate are free agents. Colletti re-signed League to a three-year deal Tuesday and has said he will try to re-sign Choate, possibly Blanton.
With the popular rumor being a run at Alex Rodriguez, Colletti said a major offensive acquisition from outside the organization would be "a long shot. We'll emphasize pitching and depth in the outfield."
One of the key acquisitions could prove to be a non-player. After dismissing Dave Hansen, they are looking for a new hitting coach that can get through to the star-studded offense with a team approach that will turn wasted opportunities into runs scored.
Free agents: Bobby Abreu, Blanton, Choate, Adam Kennedy, Victorino, Jamey Wright. Players with 2013 options are Juan Rivera ($4 million or $500,000 buyout), Todd Coffey ($2.5 million or $300,000 buyout) and Matt Treanor ($950,000 or $150,000 buyout).
Arbitration eligibles: Ronald Belisario, A.J. Ellis (both with Super Two status).
Non-tender possibilities: None.
Areas of need
Starting pitching: Clayton Kershaw, Beckett, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano are healthy. Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly might be. While they can now afford marquee free agents like Zack Greinke, Jake Peavy or Ryan Dempster, the return of Hiroki Kuroda in a short-term deal might make more sense.
Bullpen: If they can get Choate and Wright to return along with League, they would be set as long as Kenley Jansen's heart is healthy and Belisario shows up.
Fifth outfielder: With Matt Kemp and Crawford coming off serious injuries and not guaranteed to be 100 percent on Opening Day, the Dodgers want a veteran with center-field skills to compete with Tony Gwynn behind fourth outfielder Jerry Hairston.
Infinity. The commitment for 2013 is already more than double the $94 million payroll of the club that entered the 2012 season.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.