Earlier this month, Colletti said he had not yet received a payroll budget from owner Frank McCourt. But speaking Tuesday night after signing pitcher Ted Lilly to a three-year, $33 million contract, Colletti was again asked if he knew how much money he had to work with.
"Yeah, we do," he said. "We know where it's going -- up from a year ago. At this point, that's all I want to tell you."
The Dodgers opened the 2010 season with an $83 million payroll, down from $105 million the previous year. By the end of the 2010 season -- after accounting for additions like Lilly and subtractions like $3.8 million of Manny Ramirez's salary that the Chicago White Sox picked up -- the Dodgers spent around $93 million.
Colletti indicated that this year's payroll will be bigger "than at any point last year," but would not give a figure. Last year's drop in payroll coincided with uncertainty in ownership resulting from the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt.
Besides Lilly, the Dodgers have eight other players who are eligible for free agency -- Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, Rod Barajas, Jay Gibbons, Reed Johnson, Scott Podsednik, Jeff Weaver and Brad Ausmus (who retired). The Dodgers retain exclusive negotiating rights with those players until five days after the end of the World Series.
Citing a new agreement between the owners and players union to keep all negotiations secret, Colletti wouldn't comment on negotiations with any of those players.
He did say he still needs to improve the starting pitching. Before the gag order went into effect, Colletti said he had interest in bringing back all three starters -- Lilly, Kuroda and Padilla. Indications are that he's still interested in landing at least one of the two, Kuroda or Padilla. Kuroda is coming off a $15 million salary and Padilla a $5.025 million salary. Padilla is younger, but he also dealt with two injuries in 2010, while Kuroda was able to stay healthy.
Colletti said he also wants to add a reliever and "a position player or two."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.